Objet's previously released 51 digital materials include combinations made from VeroWhitePlus and rubber-like materials, as well as transparent, polypropylene-like, and rubber-like digital materials. Twenty of the 39 new materials have rigid and rubber-like properties for medical applications. The rigid materials come in new shades of gray and offer improved, polypropylene-like toughness. The rubber-like materials have shore scale A values ranging from 40 to 95. These include rigid transparent and rubber-like black materials.
The other 19 new materials are rigid and rubber-like high-temperature materials for medical surgery planning and automotive applications, as well as for seals, applications in high-humidity environments, and flexible tubing for medical devices. The rubber-like materials also come in shore scale A values ranging from 40 to 95, and the rigid materials come in new shades of gray and offer improved resistance to high temperatures.
Objet also announced two material enhancements. One of the enhanced materials, an Objet Rigid Black material named Objet VeroBlackPlus, provides "increased dimensional stability and surface smoothness," the company said in a press release. The second, Objet's High Temperature Material, is now available on all Objet Connex and Objet EdenV 3D Printers, as well as the new Objet30 Pro Desktop 3D Printer (whose release we covered this week). The material, released last year, has "the high thermal functionality of engineering plastics."
Hi - some clarity on our Digital Materials: Digital materials are composite materials made of 2 physical cartridge base materials. The two Objet model materials are integrated in specific concentrations and structures to provide the desired mechanical and thermal properties; enables close simulation of the target product materials. Digital Materials are generated on the fly during the printing process using a software algorithm which defines the jetting pattern which results in the composed materials structure. Digital materials do not exist as cartridge-based materials but only in the resulting model or part.
That's my impression, too, Rob. Objet has been quite consistent in its drive to make more materials available for its 3D process, to serve the need for function as well as for form and fit, in prototypes and models.
"Digital" materials is the new "i" anything, strictly a marketing term. These materials are manipulated by an electro-mechanical device controlled digitally and the shape that it making arose from a digital file.
Semantic argument aside the technology is fascinating and the proliferation of materials that are compatible with these 3-D printing processes can only serve to make the life of the design engineer simpler. Printing a 3-D part is a first step in the evaluation of a design, does it look, fit, etc. as I expected. If so, good, I can make a more functional prototype with more appropriate materials, if not, good, I didn't spend too much money or waste too much time.
I look forward to the growth of this technology, but I won't be calling these 3-D inks "digital materials".
Beth, thanks for that succinct explanation. A production sample/working prototype made with actual materials would be the best test, but that's not always possible, due to the cost of tooling alone, not to mention the high cost of small, non-production amounts of materials, for example, or the time involved. Which is why the 3D prototype/model industry got started: saving time and money and getting a lot closer to an understanding of the end-product.
There seems to be some semantic confusion. Form and fit are more than visual--if a part fits with another part, that's not visual, that's mechanical. To do so, it must be the right form. Functionality of a part is only visual if the part's looks have something to do with its function. It's not the materials that simulate anything, it's the part made with those materials, which with 3D technology can be a lot more than a mockup.
I'm not sure these 3D printed prototypes, digital materials or not, are meant to be a full-on replacement for building a real working prototype with real materials. I think they are meant to be part of the process and help eliminate the need for building so many different variations of physical working prototypes, which can be costly and time consuming. These methods are far more efficient and less expensive compared with building expensive tooling.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.