ROCK HILL, S.C. — 3D Systems recently announced new additions to its plastics materials portfolio that are designed to help manufacturers address a broader portfolio of applications.
The materials — Figure 4® RUBBER-65A BLK, Accura® Fidelity™, Accura Bond, Accura Patch, and Figure 4 JEWEL MASTER GRY — are designed for the company’s Figure 4 and Stereolithography (SLA) printing technologies, the company said in a release.
“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,” said Menno Ellis, senior vice president and general manager, plastics, 3D Systems, in a statement. “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.”
3D Systems’ Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK is a mid-tear-strength elastomer with high elongation at break for flexibility and durability. It is engineered for long-term environmental stability, and is tested per UL94 standards. These properties are said to enable production of end-use elastomeric parts with a high degree of accuracy and minimal scarring from supports, making it well-suited for applications such as air and dust gaskets, seals for electronics, vibration dampeners, and pipe spacers, the company said.
Described as being “biocompatible capable per ISO 10993-5 and ISO 10993-10,” Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK can be used to produce grips and handles, as well as padding for splints and braces. 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, the company said.
”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, in the release. “Custom sealing grommets, damping elements, or even soft-touch grips are just a few of the applications that come to mind — all of which would expand the capabilities and streamline my process of prototyping on the Figure 4. Functionally, Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK is quite impressive. When matched with the right part and application, it has great tear strength and exceptional print quality.”
Figure 4 RUBBER-65A BLK, like 3D Systems’ other production-grade materials, is specially formulated for additive manufacturing by addressing three key customer needs: production performance properties, production mechanical properties, and production testing standards. This complies with the comprehensive testing standards — per ASTM and ISO — the company employed when it released data for several of its Figure 4 materials in March. The tests included long term indoor and outdoor environmental stability, dielectric properties, flammability, biocompatibility, and chemical compatibility.
3D Systems introduced the first 3D printed casting pattern to the market nearly 30 years ago that enables tool-less, complex geometries and design optimization not possible with traditional tooling for patterns. Since then, the company said, foundries have used 3D Systems’ QuickCast® process to facilitate direct production of medium to large, high-precision 3D printed investment casting patterns. 3D Systems is introducing a new casting material and two new post-processing materials to enhance this platform, the company said.
Accura Fidelity is an ultra-low viscosity, antimony-free stereolithography (SLA) resin with clean burnout that is designed to create patterns for a variety of castable metals, including titanium and aluminum alloys. When used as part of 3D Systems’ QuickCast process, Accura Fidelity is said to enable rapid creation of medium to large, lightweight, and easy-to-handle casting patterns, leading to increased casting yields.
“The new Accura Fidelity material for stereolithography printing has improved the post-processing of our QuickCast investment casting patterns,” said Nancy Holt, director of operations, 3D Systems On Demand, in the release. “The low viscosity of this material facilitates better drainage and faster cleaning of the patterns, resulting in an expected increase in throughput by up to 30 percent as we move into full production with this material. The ultimate test is in its castability, and our foundry customers are providing very positive feedback. One customer, SeaCast, said the QuickCast pattern with Accura Fidelity casted extremely well with their process and they were very pleased with the final metal part.”
3D Systems (https://www.3dsystems.com/) is also introducing a new UV curable class of post-processing materials in Accura Patch and Accura Bond. Accura Patch is a high viscosity material designed to fill QuickCast pattern drain holes during post-processing. Accura Bond is a high viscosity material created to join various printed patterns together into one large pattern. Both materials can also be used with any of 3D Systems’ SLA resins for creating larger parts and for patching during post processing, the company said.