There are a variety of different materials available that can be used to create 3D objects with a 3D printer. The reason that there are so many is because 3D printing has made leaps and bounds in innovation in just a few years so you can use different types of materials that have certain properties that are required for specific jobs or even just to make a prototype of what you want before final production. Not only that, these materials are very helpful to say an artist, so it wouldn’t be a prototype or an object that performs a function, but a piece of art. And one could argue that another important function is that 3D printing methods and materials can work very well in the medical industry. The different materials that I’m covering are called Digital ABS Material, High-Temperature, Rubber-Like, and Transparent Plastics.
Digital ABS Material, which will be just ABS from now on, is made from a mixture of RGD515 and RGD535 which are both acrylic compounds. This end material is supposed to mimic regular ABS plastic with it having high temperature resistance and strength, both characteristics of regular ABS plastic. But not only that, it’s even more rigid than regular ABS. Pricing for such a material comes in many prices due to there being many sizes and different printer models. In fact, the cost of a Polyjet 3D printer varies from a still expensive $9,900 to even over a whopping $600,000! With prices like that you can safely assume that any materials that these printers use are very expensive. And they are, prices start at $250 for a 1 kilogram cartridge for some printers, it starts at $300 for others and can go as high as $350. For the 3.6 kilogram cartridges that are used in some of the larger printers, prices start at $1011 and can go as high as $1292 plus almost $500 in support cartidges! As for its weight, like most polymers it is very much on the light side of the scales however an approximate number isn’t given. The colors that are available for selection are a sort of drab green and also ivory. ABS is used for a variety of tasks such as producing prototypes, tools, molds, parts, casings, etc. As stated above it has high temperature resistance as well as being very strong. It finished texture is also very good for finishes such as color or coating.
High temperature material, which will now be known as HTM, is as the name states meant to be used in conditions that involve higher temperatures and is designed to resist such conditions. HTM is made of RGD525, which is an acrylic compound. The finished product is ideal for applications that involve hot air flow or hot water flow in pipes or faucets. Due to what it’s conditions are, HTM has a heat deflection temperature of 63-67 C or 145-153 F. That’s just off the printer though, if your needs are higher the end product can be placed in a specialized oven for a thermal post treatment that can increase its threshold to around 75-80 C or 167-176 F. This material can also be combined with Rubber-like materials, which I will cover next, to produce a different colored and more rigid and functional material with even higher temperature resistance. As mentioned before, pricing for such a material comes in many prices, starting at $250 for a 1 kilogram cartridge, $300 for others printers, and can go as high as $350, the 3.6 kilogram cartridges start at $1011 and can go as high as $1292 plus the almost $500 in support cartridges. Applications for this material are: form fir and thermal tests of static parts, parts that require excellent surface quality, exhibition under strong light, heat resistant parts, post processing, hot air and water testing, taps and pipes as well as other household appliances.
Rubber-like, which will be referred to as just rubber from now on, is a material that has a variety of elastic characteristics including hardness, elongation at break, tear resistance, and strength. It can be composed of Objet TangoBlackPlus FLX980, TangoPlus FLX930, TangoGrey FLX950, TangoBlack FLX973, all of which are acrylic compounds. As some of the names imply, they are different colors. Colors available are Rubber-like grey, black, translucent, and advanced black. Since this material is supposed to mimic rubber, it acts very much like regular rubber, except that it is printed in a 3D printer, other than that, their characteristics are nearly identical. Uses for such material include exhibition models, rubber surrounding for exposed parts, over molding, soft texture coating and nonslip coating for surfaces on prototypes, tools, and other objects, and knobs, grips, handles, seals, hoses, and even footwear! As mentioned before, this material can also be combined with High Temperature materials, which I just covered, to produce a different colored and more rigid and functional material with even higher temperature resistance. Also mentioned before, pricing for this material comes in many prices, starting at $250 for a 1 kilogram cartridge, $300 for some printers, and can go as high as $350, the 3.6 kilogram cartridges start at $1011 and can go as high as $1292 plus the almost $500 in support cartridges.
The final material I’m covering is Transparent materials. As the name implies, the materials produced will be either transparent or translucent in some cases. This material is used for clear plastic simulation, combining high dimensional stability with the smoothness of the surface. It is composed of either Objet RGD720 or VeroClear RGD810. RGD720 is a multipurpose material for regular plastic simulation, while VeroClear RGD810 is colorless with good dimensional stability , great for mimicking PMMA(Polymethyl methacrylate). Also something that was mentioned in the last material, the Rubber-like material is also offered in a translucent color, featuring all the characteristics of rubber but is also semi-see through. The functions of these materials are to form and fit testing of transparent parts, make glass, eyeglasses, covers for lights, and light cases, observe the flow of liquid, color dying, applications in the medical field, and artistic and exhibition modeling. Like mentioned for all the other materials, starts at $250 for a 1 kilogram cartridge, $300 for others printers, and can go as high as $350, the 3.6 kilogram cartridges start at $1011 and can go as high as $1292 plus the almost $500 in support cartridges.
These are only a few of the available materials that can be used on Polyjet printers, but these are the ones that stood out to me. If given the opportunity, the material I’d like to get my hands on the most is the Rubber-like material, to see how close it actually is to regular rubber, although my guess is that it should be very close to it. Unfortunately, these materials aren’t easy to come by due to the fact that there a few Polyjet printers out there and the ones that are can be ridiculously expensive. And not only are the printers expensive but so is running them and using them because the material cost is also through the roof. However, the technology and the materials are very high quality and the properties they have are very good and very similar to the materials they’re trying to mimic.
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