USA & Canada
USA & Canada
3D printed tool

3D printed tooling that’s easy on finished surfaces.

aaron pearson
Aaron Pearson December 21, 2021
December 21, 2021

3D printed tooling is still an underused but extremely valuable additive manufacturing application. It can dramatically cut fabrication lead time and cost compared to machined tools. It’s also lighter and enables better ergonomics than metal tooling. That’s why automotive companies like General Motors use additive to replace cumbersome jigs and fixtures. 


The tooling used to build cars obviously needs to be strong and durable. But when it comes in contact with painted surfaces, it should also be forgiving so it doesn’t damage the finish. Diran 410MF07 is a nylon-based FDM thermoplastic known for its impact strength and toughness. But what sets it apart from other thermoplastics is its low coefficient of friction. Diran possesses a lubricious nature that allows it to slide easily over other surfaces, without damage. This makes it ideal for tooling that interacts with high quality surface finishes and paints. 


To prove that, Stratasys engineers tested the effect of rubbing a 3D printed probe made with Diran against a finished surface. The probe was drawn across a Class A surface finish comprised of an automotive paint topped with clearcoat as shown in Figure 1. Ten cycles of back-and-forth motion were accomplished with a force of 20 pounds. The probe’s layer lines were oriented parallel to the direction of travel.


The result can be seen in Figure 2. No discernible scratches were evident in the painted finish from the interaction with the Diran test probe. The same experiment was conducted using a polycarbonate (PC) 3D printed probe. In contrast to the Diran material, PC resulted in approximately 25 to 30 discernible scratches as shown in Figure 3.


Available on the F370 printer, Diran 410MF07 gives manufacturers a tough material for jigs and fixtures that won’t mar painted or finished surfaces. To learn more, visit the Diran material page. You can also download the data sheet or request a sample while you’re there.

Test fixture
Figure 2	-Diran probe sample.
PC abrasion