U.S. 3D printer OEM 3D Systems has announced an expansion to its portfolio of plastics materials, in order to increase the breadth of their applications for manufacturers in the 3D printing industry.
The materials included in the expansion include Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK, Accura Fidelity, Accura Bond, Accura Patch, and Figure 4 JEWEL MASTER GRY. Each of the materials are designed to be used with 3D Systems’ Figure 4 3D printing platform, as well as its selection of SLA 3D printers. With the new releases, 3D Systems intends to open up new uses for its materials.
“Our team has continued developing new materials across our plastics portfolio to address a broader set of production applications and providing data sheets with key test results and performance specs to make it easy for our customers to make the optimal material choice for their needs,” explains Menno Ellis, SVP and general manager, plastics, 3D Systems.
“Our material scientists and technical experts have leveraged decades of experience to engineer these high performing materials to deliver accurate, economical, and repeatable results to enable our customers to maintain competitive advantage.”
The Figure 4 3D printing platform
The Figure 4 technology platform developed by 3D Systems is composed of three core products: the standalone, modular and production iterations. Based on Digital Light Printing (DLP) technology, Figure 4 3D printing is reportedly capable of reaching print speeds of 100mm per hour and six sigma repeatability.
The standalone iteration was released in late 2018, comprising one 3D printing system. The Figure 4 Modular on the other hand is a scalable and semi-automated production system that can range from a single print engine machine to 24 or more print engines with integration of centralized post-processing, automated materials-handling, job management and queuing. Finally, 3D Systems’ Figure 4 Production is designed as a tool-less manufacturing solution with automated material delivery and integrated post-processing.
Earlier in 2020, 3D Systems released a new package for the Figure 4 3D printing platform designed specifically for the production of jewelry; it includes a Figure 4 jewelry 3D printer alongside jewelry castable material and 3D Sprint software. Combined together, 3D Systems aims to enable high productivity for jewelers, reportedly allowing them to create prints ready for casting or molding in a matter of hours.
New materials for different applications
The new Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK material is a mid-tear strength elastomer with a high elongation at break for flexibility and durability. Building on 3D Systems’ portfolio of production-grade materials, the Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK is also engineered for long-term environmental stability, and is tested per UL94 standards. This makes it suitable for the production of end-use elastomeric parts and applications such as air/dust gaskets, seals for electronics, vibration dampeners and pipe spacers. As the material is biocompatible capable per ISO 10993-5 and ISO 10993-10, it can also be utilized to produce grips and handles as well as padding for splints and braces.
Furthermore, 3D Systems also explains that the material has been formulated according to the comprehensive testing standards that the company employed when it released data for several of its Figure 4 materials in March 2020. These standard include Long term Indoor and Outdoor Environmental Stability, Dielectric properties, Flammability, Biocompatibility, and Chemical compatibility. Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK is planned for release in late June 2020.
“As a mechanical engineer and designer of medical devices, I can think of many uses for a robust elastomeric material such as Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK,” said Matthew Cavuto, mechanical engineer, Imperial College London. “Custom sealing grommets, damping elements, or even soft-touch grips are just a few of the applications that come to mind.”
The new Accura Fidelity material is a low viscosity, antimony-free SLA resin with clean burnout designed to create patterns for a variety of castable metals, including titanium and aluminum alloys. With the launch of the material, 3D Systems intends to enhance its QuickCast process for 3D printed investment casting patterns.
Furthermore, Accura Patch and Accura Bond are two UV curable post-processing materials for use with any of 3D Systems’ SLA resins for creating larger parts and for patching during post processing. Accura Patch is a high viscosity material designed to fill QuickCast pattern drain holes during post-processing, whereas Accura Bond was created to join various printed patterns together into one large pattern. Accura Fidelity is currently available while general availability for Accura Bond and Accura Patch is planned for July 2020.
Finally, the Figure 4 JEWEL MASTER GRY is a master pattern material for high volume jewelry silicone molds and for prototype/fit models, to be used with the Figure 4 Jewelry launched earlier in 2020.
The new material is compatible with a range of silicones for creating master patterns thanks to its high heat deflection temperature. Furthermore, it is suited for producing high definition master patterns for making silicone or RTV molds as well. Figure 4 JEWEL MASTER GRY meets biocompatibility standard ISO 10933-5 for cytotoxicity, making it safe for try-ons and fittings, and will launch in late June 2020.
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Featured image shows parts produced using Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK and 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology can be produced faster than other similar competitive materials that require a secondary thermal post-cure. Photo via 3D Systems.