Following discussions with its clients, Materialise, the Belgian-based 3D printing company, has officially introduced a new, highly flexible and durable material for 3D Printing. Even though it doesn’t have a particularly inspiring, or even interesting, name — it’s called TPU 92A-1 — it’s definitely worth taking note. Particularly designers and engineers, some of whom have apparently been challenging Materialise to come up with a flexible 3D Printing material that is durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of an end-use product for a while. The response from Materialise is TPU 92A-1, developers at the company have been working on this for a while. And I’ve heard that, prior to launch, in an impromptu test to see how good it actually was – a couple of Materialise peeps were dragging each other around the floor with it and it didn’t tear!
One of the most notable Materialise clients that lay down the gauntlet on the material front was Dutch fashion designer and guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, Iris van Herpen, who is known for pushing the boundaries of 3D Printing in the world of high fashion. In January this year, TPU 92A-1 made its debut on the catwalk during Iris van Herpen’s Voltage Haute Couture show at Paris Fashion Week.
According to Materialise, comparing this new material with other flexible 3D Printing materials will throw up ‘a tremendous difference in performance.’
A video of (more formal) material tests can be seen in the video below, for you to see for yourself:
The new TPU 92A-1 material combines a range of properties, the point being I think, that it involves less of a trade-off than comparable materials. These are:
- Durable elasticity
- High tear resistance
- High resistance to dynamic loading
- High abrasive resistance
- Snappy response
- Good temperature range (-20°C to 80°C)
As of now, this new material is available for all customers of Materialise’s professional manufacturing and prototyping services.