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Additive manufacturing processes at igus®

Generative manufacturing with self-lubricating plastics for wear-resistant parts
Laser sintering 3D printing process  
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Selective laser sintering is one of the
powder-bed-based manufacturing processes. The powder  is added in layers  with a doctor blade  and melted with a  laser at the point  where the component is to be formed.

  • Speed and price
  • Dimensional stability
  • Strength, good layer bonding
  • Toughness: elongation at break is greater than 8%
  • Ideal for delicate components
  • Worldwide printing service: igus® has laser sintering plants in Germany, China, and the U.S.
  • Limited material selection

FDM 3D printing process  
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

FDM is a 3D printing method in which a material, such as plastic, is melted and applied layer by layer through a nozzle. This is also referred to as melt strand deposition.

  • 3D printers that cost little to  procure
  • Easy to fit
  • Multi-material printing possible
  • Large selection of materials, including high-temperature materials
  • Inter-layer stability is reduced
  • Support material required
  • Price

Rapid Tooling with print2mold  
print2mold (Rapid Tooling)

The Rapid Tooling method uses an individual 3D model to design and manufacture an injection mould. Depending on requirements, the mould is manufactured of plastic with stereolithography or of metal with selective laser melting.

  • All 55 iglidur® plastics possible
  • Costs up to 80% less than regular injection moulding
  • Special injection-moulded parts in as little as five business days
  • Ideal for prototypes and pre-production runs of the original material
  • Only parts without undercuts
  • Higher costs than those for 3D printing

More about Rapid Tooling

Other additive manufacturing methods

2 components - Multi-material printing

3D printing with two components  

The FDM method allows additive manufacturing of parts from two different materials. This is advantageous when the component needed must exhibit both great rigidity and optimised sliding performance. Moreover, 3D printed parts can be moulded with injection moulding materials, combining the geometrical freedom of 3D printed wear-resistant elements with the special properties of injection moulding and all iglidur® plastics.

More about two-component 3D printing at igus®

Rework and finishing (laser sintering)

3D printed components have a rougher surface finish. In such uses as plain bearings, the surface finish quickly becomes smoother, so that the effect in application is minor.

  • Polishing: Polishing components greatly reduces surface roughness, improving the feel. Vibratory finishing is especially well suited to parts with simple geometry and wall thicknesses of at least 1 mm. The component is put into a drum with abrasives and water and polished smooth. Chemical polishing is better for surface treatment of complex components.
  • Colouring: Laser-sintered components can be coloured by subsequent infiltration. In the online 3D printing service, the price of parts coloured black can be determined; many other colours are available upon request.
  • Mechanical rework: This is offered when a component requires threads or threaded inserts, for instance. Mechanical rework is also necessary if components are to be manufactured with specific dimensions and tight tolerances. This service is available upon request.

Prices for black colouring and mechanical polishing can be determined quickly, free of charge, in the 3D printing service. Just upload a STEP file and get prices and delivery times immediately.


Determine prices for rework

Digital production

Additive manufacturing processes are part of the digital production area. Regardless of 3D printing method, each new component must first be designed as a digital 3D model, which can then be used for production without the need for further component-specific tools. This process offers numerous advantages:

  • 3D models can be shared and processed by multiple specialists regardless of location.
  • Manufacture can be called up locally as necessary: igus® offers 3D printing service worldwide with plants in Germany, China, and the U.S. 
  • Modifications to components can be made quickly and without additional charge, since  there are no tools.
  • Simple geometries and standard components can be designed quickly and easily on free-of-charge software; no previous experience necessary
We also provide our customers with helpful, free-of-charge digital services for additive manufacturing (no registration is necessary for use):

CAD configurators

CAD configurator  

  • Online configuration of lead screw nuts, plain bearings, rollers, gears, racks, and sliding elements
  • CAD download in all commonly used file formats
  • Direct integration into commonly used CAD software
  • Free of charge and without registration

CAD configurator for components

Online 3D printing service

3D printing service  

  • Quick, easy upload of CAD models
  • Prices, price graduation, and delivery time immediately available
  • Direct comparison between different additive methods (laser sintering and FDM) and Rapid Tooling (print2mold)

3D printing service

Service life calculator

3D printed gear service life calculator  

  • For gears and plain bearings
  • Calculation takes into account contact with other materials
  • All data is based on test results from the igus® test laboratory

Service life calculator for gears

Materials for additive manufacturing

3D printing materials

Materials for additive manufacturing  

Our 3D printing materials are based on high-performance plastics used to produce wear-resistant components. Filaments and laser sintering powder are developed internally by our engineers and continuously optimised to increase sliding capacity and minimise wear. iglidur® materials for 3D printing have been developed for special environments such as contact with food or very high temperatures. We use our materials to manufacture customer orders, but they can also be purchased online.
-> To the 3D printing material shop 

Information about iglidur® plastics for 3D printing

55 polymers for print2mold (Rapid Tooling)

Rapid Tooling injection moulding materials  

The print2mold method is used to 3D print injection moulds for manufacturing individual parts from a large selection of special plastics. Depending on requirements, there are various solutions: FDA-compliant polymers, chemical-resistant compounds, ESD materials, plastics with various coefficients of wear, and much more.


Material overview: iglidur® materials for injection moulding

3D printing methods used in our customers' processes

Plastic pinion for engine tuning

The Formula Student Team from Weingarten near Ravensburg needed, among other things, customised plastic pinions to construct their racing cars. The pinions were used as chain tensioners in the chain drive, so they had to be especially robust. Unfortunately, pinions in special sizes have long delivery times, and classic production by means of milling is time-consuming. The igus® 3D printing service allowed plastic pinions to be delivered and tested in less than 72 hours. The material used was iglidur® I6, which is especially wear-resistant – it was still fully functional after one million cycles in laboratory tests – and was thus ideal for use in racing cars. In this case, the special parts from additive manufacture were not only available much faster, but were more robust and economical.  

Ultimaker and igus – Partners in motion

Ultimaker is pleased to announce that igus® materials are now available in the Ultimaker Marketplace. iglidur® I150 and iglidur® I180 allow a variety of industrial applications and fill the demand for 3D printed parts with low friction and great abrasion resistance. Lubrication-free bearings, clamping devices, and complex wear-resistant parts are just a few applications that can be printed with these two filaments. The Ultimaker S3 and Ultimaker S5 3D printers and the award-winning Ultimaker Cura software are just what you need to print a large number of high-performance applications.
Paul Heiden
Senior Vice President Product Management
Ultimaker BV

Ultimaker and igus® filaments

Additive manufacturing process sample box

Additive manufacturing process sample box  

The sample box makes our 3D printing methods tangible: get to know our filaments, laser sintering products, and the individual injection-moulded parts manufactured with print2mold.  




Order a free 3D printing sample box

Why 3D printing from igus?

3D printing methods at igus®  

With its five decades of expertise in wear-resistant components made of self-lubricating high-performance polymers, igus brings new possibilities to the 3D printing industry. We offer solutions developed especially for moving applications in which usual materials would quickly reach their limits – our plastics exhibit wear resistance up to 50 times that of standard 3D printing plastics. iglidur® polymers and the products they are used to make are tested extensively for wear, friction, and durability in our in-house test laboratory . In addition to special polymers for applications in specific surroundings, we offer expert advice, practical online tools and configurators, as well as free samples of our materials and products made out of them.  

Find out more about additive manufacturing at igus®


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