Here at Slant 3D, we have a lot of people come to us with outdoor parts so we're going to talk about the solutions of making those pieces around UV resistance.
Not a lot of people know this but most plastics degrade when exposed to sunlight UV radiation, which is what gives you the sunburn, can cause plastics to fade and degrade and then brittle over time. If you have an application that you want to mount on the side of a telephone pole for five or ten years generally isn't the best thing.
Here's the thing, most plastics are actually quite resistant to UV aside from discoloration. ABS and Pet-g are materials that are resistant. They're not fully resistant but they're pretty resistant to UV. That's why you see plastic bottles alongside the road forever but materials like PLA and other sorts of bioplastics like that are not UV resistant. They will fade very quickly but they will hold up outdoors. People overrate the amount of degradation that can occur with plastics. They are all plastics and they all have a half-life of a thousand years so you can place them outdoors and they will last a very long time. It kind of depends on what type of outdoors but it's okay. As far as UV resistance the materials that are UV rated are materials like ASA, TPU, and some nylons though they're also not great because they do fade very quickly, again ABS is also a very good one.
Here's the thing, all those materials are fine and they work great but in mass production, they're not very good materials. ASA is a highly temperamental material to work with so it's very expensive to mass-produce parts with that. FDM is kind of in a similar vein even though it's a cheaper cost of material and then the other ones like nylon are much more affordable than ABS or ASA to produce with but again you have that fading that comes with it. There is PET-G which is very often used for outdoor applications because it has that durability but there is another solution to this that many people overlook.
The features of the raw material are not necessarily what has to be done used to get a UV-resistant part. In the dashboard of your car, many of the parts within your car are not UV resistant and yet for some reason, they hold their color and last for the 20 years of a lifetime of a car. The reason for that is that auto manufacturing actually uses UV-resistant coatings which are transparent. They protect the underlying material from UV radiation and this is literally a rattle-can run across the part. Generally, if we have a client that is seeking high UV resistance we will try to get them into those UV-resistant materials potentially but depending on the cost and parameters of the project it can be much easier to just print the part in PET-G or PLA even and just coat it with a UV resistant coat and that will give it the resistance that it needs to survive the sunlight. That's the solution for kind of doing mass production with UV you have a lot of materials that are UV resistant and most plastic is able to hold up to the sun for quite a few years but if you want that really high engineering grade UV resistance there are particular materials that have that but then you can also just paint it with a UV resistant coat.
Let me know what you think down in the comments and let us know of any other topics that you would like to hear about how to manufacture particular types of products with 3D printer farms. Have a great day everybody!
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