3Diligent delivers on grand designs to offer Silicone 3D printing

Rapid manufacturing service provider 3Diligent has introduced 3D printing of silicone to its capabilities. Based in El Segundo, California, the company is now accepting requests for quotes for silicone in the hope that innovative designers will make use of the service.

The possible applications of 3D printed silicone range from electronics to artificial organs, making the service an asset to multiple industries.

Meeting the demands of designers

Silicone possesses many advantages over other materials, including high tensile strength, elasticity and electrical conductivity (at high temperatures). Traditionally, silicone has been manufactured through traditional means, making complex geometries and shapes challenging.

Cullen Hilkene, CEO of 3Diligent, described the ability to 3D print silicone as “an exciting innovation.” He added that 3Diligent strives “to meet the 3D Printing needs of all designers and [was] pleased to expand our range of elastomeric materials with silicone.”

3Diligent's exisitng catalogue of additive manufacturing materials is now being expanded. Photo via 3Diligent.
3Diligent’s exisitng catalogue of additive manufacturing materials is now being expanded. Photo via 3Diligent.

An accessible service bureau

To make the process of obtaining a 3D printed silicone part easier, 3Diligent provides a portal for designers to upload CAD files and submit requests for quotes.

Once the CAD file is uploaded, 3Diligent will identify the optimal silicone fabrication solution, and complete the order (including slicing, printing and post production) upon the quote’s acceptance.

Silicone rally

3D printed silicone has recently been seen in several medical applications. The University of Florida is in the process of developing 3D printed liquid silicone to deliver cost-effective medical implants. ETH Zurich also produced the first ever fully 3D printed functional heart out of silicone.

Earlier this year, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California filed a patent for its 3D printed silicone micro-balloons which demonstrate shape memory, and may be used in form fitting cushions in safety applications.

The silicone artificial heart. Image via Zurich Heart.
ETH Zurich’s silicone artificial heart is just one example of how 3D printed silicone could revolutionize medicine. Image via Zurich Heart.

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