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."
"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".
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.
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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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