Materials

3D Systems introduces two new production-grade materials

Figure 4 Tough Clear for long-term use parts and functional prototypes, and DuraForm PAx Black with properties similar to injection molded plastics

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3D Systems has introduced Figure 4 Tough Clear and DuraForm PAx Black – two new production-grade materials designed to address a breadth of industrial applications. Both materials have been engineered for long-lasting mechanical performance and stability in any environment – making them well-suited for a host of end-use applications in industries such as consumer goods, transportation and motorsports, aerospace and defense, etc.

Figure 4 Tough Clear

Figure 4 Tough Clear is 3D Systems’ first clear material for its Figure 4 platform – designed for long-term use parts and functional prototypes. Parts produced using Figure 4 Tough Clear possess excellent clarity that is improved with post-processing. This can be extremely valuable for applications such as fluid and gas flow to observe the inner workings of complex assemblies. It can also enhance light transmission and reflection for lenses, light guides, and lighting covers. Additionally, the material delivers a desirable combination of customer-critical performance traits including impact strength, tensile strength, and elongation properties which remain stable for up to eight years.

Figure 4 Tough Clear has been tested to eight years of indoor, and one and a half years of outdoor, mechanical performance per ASTM D4329 and ASTM G154 methods – ensuring that printed parts remain functional and stable for long periods in real-world conditions. In addition to lenses, light guides, and lighting covers, this material is suited to a variety of high-volume, small part applications such as load-bearing handles, cranks, knobs, levers, structural brackets, snap-fits and fasteners, and consumer goods packaging.

“3D printing is the most cost-effective method to produce clear parts, and with the introduction of Figure 4 Tough Clear, we’re giving our customers a path to reduce their time to market,” said Dr. Edwin Hortelano, senior vice president of materials engineering and development at 3D Systems. “Our Figure 4 platform is easy-to-use and facilitates ultra-fast production. With our new Figure 4 Tough Clear material, customers now have a production-grade material designed for long-term stability. The combination of our Figure 4 hardware solution, and deep materials and applications expertise allow our customers to accelerate innovation and enable competitive advantage.”

3D Systems introduces two new production-grade materials - Figure 4 Tough Clear and DuraForm PAx Black - for industrial applications.
An armrest produced on 3D Systems’ SLS 380 3D printer using the new DuraForm PAx Black material.

DuraForm PAx Black

DuraForm PAx Black is the latest offering in 3D Systems’ new open material portfolio for use with selective laser sintering (SLS) printers. As with the recently announced DuraForm PAx Natural, this material possesses properties similar to injection molded plastics and features high impact resistance with high elongation at break in any direction. DuraForm PAx Black is designed to be used with any commercially-available SLS printer, regardless of the manufacturer – facilitating ease of integration into existing production workflows. The material’s mechanical properties facilitate the manufacturing of tough, lightweight, production-grade parts for applications such as orthotics, tooling handles, splints, braces, ducting in rugged environments, living hinges, liquid reservoirs, and enclosures requiring high impact and high toughness.

DuraForm PAx Black’s properties include low-temperature printing (i.e., 120°C) – facilitating efficiencies in printing and post-processing, and impressive long-term stability ratings of over five years indoors (for mechanical properties and color). Using vapor honing to post-process parts moves the elongation at yield capability past that of other nylon materials (i.e., PA-11 and PA-12), and delivers a shiny, smooth finish nearly indistinguishable from injection molded parts. High reuse rates (a 30% refresh rate is recommended) help reduce waste and decrease production costs.

Figure 4 Tough Clear and DuraForm PAx Black are both planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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