Stratasys-owned 3D printing company MakerBot has announced the release of two new engineering-grade filaments for its METHOD X platform: PC-ABS and PC-ABS FR. The addition of the materials brings the total of MakerBot METHOD materials to 10 and expands the scope of functional prototyping and end-use applications for the 3D printing system.
PC-ABS, or polycarbonate-acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is a popular engineering material with high heat resistant properties and a high tensile strength. The material has a broad range of applications in the automotive, rail and electronics industries, including LCD panels, appliances, electronics enclosures, handles, adapters, adapters and chargers, and more. PC-ABS FR is a flame-retardant version of the filament that complies with UL-94 V0 standards.
Both PC-ABS and PC-ABS FR are best processed in a heated print chamber, such as the one built into the METHOD X 3D printer, which can reach temperatures up to 110°C. According to the company, a simple heated build plate can still lead to part deformation and lower part strength, so having a consistent heated environment for the build is crucial.
“With its excellent thermal and mechanical properties, PC-ABS is a widely-used engineering material for applications that require high impact and heat resistance. METHOD X is the only printer in its price class with a heated chamber that reaches up to 110°C on the build plane, making it ideal for printing PC-ABS,” commented Johan-Till Broer, VP of Product Development, MakerBot. “PC-ABS is another example of METHOD’s ability to support real engineering-grade materials that print more successfully with a heated chamber. As a result, this improves the success rate and efficiency of the prototyping process, reducing time to market for new products.”
PC-ABS is today commonly used in injection molding to produce end-use components. Having a 3D printable version of the material will improve prototyping for these applications, as prototypes with similar properties to the injection molded components can be functionally tested. With the METHOD X’s dual extrusion system, the filaments can also be 3D printed in combination with SR-30 soluble supports, enabling more complex geometries to be achieved.
MakerBot expects its two new filaments will begin shipping in early May 2020. Both filaments are available in black. Earlier this month, MakerBot announced a new experimental extruder for its METHOD platform to enable compatibility with a broader range of third party materials.