Following the announcement of Materialise’s rubber-like 3D printing material earlier today, word has reached us that Shapeways too, is pushing the bendy and stretchy with the introduction of the new, experimental Elasto Plastic material.
But this material comes with a bit of a twist and a new branch to the Shapeways mission, which as the company states: “has always been to enable anyone to make anything they want. First, we built a system to allow Makers to design and purchase models for themselves. Then we created Shapeways Shops to enable anyone to launch a business and sell their products worldwide. Now, we want to make it easier for Makers to gain access to the newest 3D printing materials on the market and test them with us.”
As a result, Shapeways is inviting makers to join in “one big, global 3D Printing R&D team.”
This is because Elasto Plastic is Shapeways’ first ‘Maker Only’ material, which means it is available only for makers as a result of the experimental nature of the material, specifically that the company does not believe that the finish, colour and properties are not quite ready for sale to a wider audience.
However, Shapeways does report that: “the new, improved Elasto Plastic is a great option for Makers as it is an incredibly durable material with a lot of really interesting properties such as high impact resistance, flexibility and compression (depending on the geometry), along with a high level of static friction because of the surface texture. Though not strictly water-tight, it can hold liquids, but it does not like high temperatures or fire … and it is not so good for very small things…. It is a valuable addition to our 3D Printing material options here on Shapeways that we are sure [makers] will find incredibly useful and fun.
And apparently, this is just the start of a range of experimental materials. Some of Shapeways own test prints with Elasto Plastic can be seen in the images below, together with a video highlighting some of the possibilities.