Fripp Design and Research has just released a YouTube video teasing their new 3D printing Picsima technology capable of printing medical and food grade parts using linked polymers like silicone, epoxy resin and acrylics without the need for support structures.
The Picsima process uses commercially available silicone products, which means that they have already been cleared by the FDA for food and medical applications. The process solidifies the materials with a patent pending process that controls the polymerisation of the silicone. They have already created parts as thin as 400 microns with a shore hardness of 10A. For comparison, Stratasys’ flexible Tango Black material has a shore hardness of 27A.
Here is the video comparing parts 3D printed in Tango Black with parts 3D printed in silicone using the Picsima process:
The company’s long term goal is to create a commercial 3D printer using the Picsima technology and the team is currently working on the product design and raising the required capital. However, currently the machines in the Fripp Design factory are the only 3D printers capable of using this new process and with these they are offering silicone 3D printing services in the interim.
The process was developed when Fripp Design was working on a new way to 3D print soft tissue prostheses for a client. While that project never worked out it did set them on the road to developing Picsima. The process will have many medical applications as well as uses for 3D printing custom gaskets and seals. Typically these parts would be 3D printed in a flexible material to test the shape and fit and then have a mold cast so they could be reproduced in silicone. Because the Picsima process does not require support structures, it can completely eliminate that step and print functional end-use parts.