What does Solid Ground Curing (SGC) mean?
Nowadays, the additive technology industry is rather diverse: one has developed dozens of printing methods, hundreds of specialized printers, and a lot of things will be further produced. One of the first 3D printing techniques is Solid Ground Curing or SGC.
The SGC technology means a material that becomes fully solid, as the term suggests.
The method was created 31 years ago by Israeli developers from Cubital Ltd. Following the completion of organization operations, the rights to the invention were passed to Objet Geometries Ltd and Stratasys. The company, competing with above-mentioned ones, gave another term for this technique: Film Transfer Imaging or FTI.
The technology concept is the following: one applies thin liquid resin layers step by step. Then, they are exposed to ultraviolet according to a photo model or the so-called mask of the necessary shape. The internal cavity is filled with special wax. It leads to the full polymerization of the core material, in other words it turns into solid state.
If necessary, all of the excessive material is removed and one cleans a work space for printing the next item. When the final model is completed, wax is melted down, presenting a ready-made product.
SGC pros and cons
One can define a range of advantages and disadvantages of such a method.
- one should not create supporting elements;
- high printing accuracy due to mechanical processing of every layer;
- high performance efficiency;
- low price of printed objects;
- a huge array of post processing features.
- a lot of waste, increasing the object prime cost;
- loud printing process;
- expensive installation of printers;
- items will be fallen to pieces when exposed to water because of material special nature;
- complexity of model creation due to a huge amount of masks.
Technology application areas
it is a rarely used method. There are some new variations, but they don’t differ from LED printing, applying digital projectors. Besides, one has designed a variety of new technologies without above-mentioned disadvantages but with a great number of advantages.
The technology uses only liquid resins. To determine a required material type, one should take into account technological characteristics of production. For instance, mechanical processing requires polymers with special features. Liquid resins with solidness and viscosity similar to ABS plastic are applied most frequently.