Formlabs has launched two new polyurethane resins, PU Rigid 650 and PU Rigid 1000, for its Form 2, Form 3, Form 3+, Form 3B and Form 3B+ printers. These materials are meant to be strong and impact resistant for use in a number of industries, ranging from medical to automotive and consumer goods. The company expects the 650 variant to be used primarily for connector components, such as hinges and quick-adjusts, as well as impact-resistant parts, such as wheels, bumpers and eyelets. . The 1000 variant is designed for use in jigs and fixtures, castings, housings and heavy duty consumer products including bottle caps, buckles and bicycle pedals.
“We are excited to launch these innovative polyurethane resins as we continue to expand our material library and open up new possibilities with 3D printing. PU Rigid 650 and PU Rigid 1000 resins build on the existing capabilities of Formlabs SLA printers to provide manufacturers, engineers and product designers with the ability to produce polyurethane parts that can withstand harsh manufacturing environments and harsh conditions. extreme design demands,” said the Formlabs product manager. Officer David Lakatos.
We must point out that you must be careful when breathing polyurethane vapors, as they could have considerable adverse health effects. Additionally, skin contact with uncured polyurethane can also have adverse health effects, and the material is likely carcinogenic to humans. So be careful, kids.
Semi-rigid materials have generally been a problem for 3D printing, so this is a welcome addition to the 3D printing arsenal. Soft and comfortable materials have also always had the problem that they wear out and break down easily, so as an option this is also a very welcome development. Think of applications such as orthoses or immobilization devices for patients. Also consider the sports equipment that can now be personalized. I don’t know what kind of skin contact approvals they have on new raw materials, but PU is very safe once cured. So, with the proper approvals, this opens up many possible applications and uses for 3D printing.
Like I said before, I’m skeptical of thermosets in end-use applications unless they can’t be avoided. However, with something like this being made available on a fairly large installed base of 3D printers, you have to think that people will try to do this eventually. Mass customization of interior components of assemblies, grips, sports gear and steering wheel inserts has really been held back because we can’t make comfortable and durable components with 3D printing. In those kinds of areas, perhaps materials like these could play a role.
If not, it will still be an advantage as a prototyping tool. PU is a widely used material and in form and fit test prototypes the snap fit and a bit of flex will add a lot of realism. These types of parts can really trigger your reactions and imaginations in a tactile way, much better if they approximate their end-use materials. If you want to see the materials, you can visit Formlabs at the RAPID+TCT event in Detroit, Michigan at booth #2608.
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