Industry News and Trends

21 Jan 2019

New artificial resin makes it easier to print prototypes

With Elastic Resin, the US manufacturer Formlabs has presented its softest artificial resin for additive manufacturing to date. It is said to be extremely robust and also cost-effective to use.

Kai Tubbesing

In comparison to the Flexible Resin already available, Formlabs claims to have reduced the Shore hardness of the new material from 80 to 50A . The elastomeric material, which is used to print workpieces in the stereolithography process (SLA), is based on the characteristics of silicone in terms of quality and appearance. It is said to be extremely robust in resisting physical load changes, combines high strength with high elasticity, and can be processed comparatively easily: instead of costly special equipment, the manufacturer claims that converting its relatively cheap Form-2-SLA printer to include a Resin Tank LT is sufficient.

As areas of application for the particularly soft artificial resin, Formlabs cites wearables, robot parts and medical models, among other things. The new procedure saves time and money especially in prototype development, where 3D printing is in any case gradually replacing traditional processes such as injection molding: according to a survey by the production printer manufacturer Ricoh , by mid 2020 around three quarters of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe will be using additive manufacturing. One of the key reasons for this identified in the study is precisely the benefits it brings in the area of prototyping.


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