Several new materials shown at Rapid 2010 promise to advance
the fast-moving additive manufacturing industry.
DSM Somos, a producer of materials for stereolithography systems, introduced Somos NeXt, which it described as the industry's most advanced resin to date for approaching engineering thermoplastic performance.
"This is a material you need to hold in your hand to fully appreciate," says Vince Adams, DSM Somos' marketing manager. "The stiffness/toughness combination produces a look and feel that is so like a thermoplastic, people are really surprised that it's actually stereolithography." DSM says the material has properties comparable to ABS. It has a notched Izod impact rating of 0.52 J/cm, almost double most of its other materials.
"Finished Somos NeXt parts perform like an engineered thermoplastic, which means our customers can depend on it for functional testing," says Don Portenga, sales engineer at Eagle Design & Technology. Target market segments for the material include: aerospace, sporting goods, automotive, consumer products and electronics. DSM Somos says it can be used to produce functional end-use performance prototypes for snap-fit designs, impellers, duct work, connectors, electronic covers, automotive housings, dashboard assemblies, packaging and sporting goods.
"The unique combination of mechanical properties is what gives SomosNeXt its key advantage compared with all previous SL resin options," says Adams. DSM Somos is an unincorporated subsidiary of DSM Desotech Inc.
Andrew Snow of EOS shows a new laser-sintered jet engine component shown at Rapid 2010.
EOS showed several new metals and plastics it has adapted for use in its laser-driven sintering systems, ranging from Titanium Ti64 to PEEK HP 3. Efforts are under way now to develop new metals for structural aircraft applications, including new nickel- and titanium-based alloys, says Andrew Snow, North American sales manager for EOS.
"Ultimately our goal is to optimize the build process and to have publishable properties that are superior to cast metals and approaching those of wrought metals," says Snow.
Objet Geometries, a developer of 3D printing systems, showed a new digital material pack that allows manufacturers and designers to create parts and models more suitable for product design testing, simulation and validation. Objet's Connex35 and Connex500 printers are capable of simultaneously printing multiple materials with different mechanical and physical properties.
The new materials encompass the full Shore A hardness scale (from 27 to 95) that mimic elastomeric products. Target applications include wires and cables, grips and handles, plugs and connections, shock absorbers, function buttons, gaskets and seals, among other rubber applications. The new rigid materials simulate the strength and toughness of products made of standard plastics such as polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene. Up to 11 different rigid and flexible materials can be combined in a single part in one build.
David Reis, CEO of Objet Geometries, said: "The increased capabilities extend tremendous benefits, opening up the use of printed models for many more applications."
3D Systems announced availability of Accura CeraMAX, a new composite designed for use in applications that require extreme thermal stability, rigidity and aggressive wear resistance. It's an engineered white plastic composite that offers outstanding stiffness and dimensional stability over time. 3D Systems also introduced Accura PEAK Plastic, a newly engineered SLA plastic designed for optimal performance, accuracy and stability during prolonged exposure to elevated temperature and humidity.
See other Design News' coverage of Rapid 2010: Z Corp. Introduces New Rapid Prototyping Tool