In the progressively complex 3D printable materials scene, more and more companies are getting involved in the ocean of new possibilities opened up by digital additive manufacturing at an ever growing scale. Diamond Plastics, a young German firm, is focusing specifically on laser sintering technology for its new (and currently only) material, HDPE Laser HX 17.
While very large groups and many 3D printer manufacturers develop their own powdered materials, since the technology’s patent expired this past February, many new players are about to enter the market to cater to a constantly increasing demand.
Diamond Plastics chose to start with High Density Polyethyline, a petroleum based polymer which has a large strength to density ratio and is widely used worldwide for a very large set of applications, ranging from plastic bottles to corrosion resistant piping.
The material developed for laser sintering by Diamond Plastics, called Laser HDPE HX 17, is a rigid, free flowing powder, with a medium particle size of 50 microns, suitable for parts about 1.5 mm in size. Perhaps more importantly, it is recyclable and 100% reusable, without requiring blending and mixing of old and new powders.
Products sintered in Laser HDPE HX 17 offer excellent resistance to acids, bases, water, alcohol and gasoline. They present a smooth surface that can be painted, welded, and cross linked. They can also be used for master forms and vacuum castings. According to its website, Diamond Plastic currently produces 500 Kg of the material a month, but intends to increase its production capacity to 1000 Kg per month, shooting for €39/Kg. That’s close to half a million euros a year. Not bad for one material, and that’s exactly why the materials scene is going to get a lot more crowded very soon.