3D Systems has developed a wide range of industrial 3D printing systems for the additive manufacturing industry, some in collaboration with other companies, but its Figure 4® portfolio is the series of 3D printers where most tangible applications have been revealed; applications in the hearing field, in the jewellery market or even in telecommunications.
Parts that are developed with Figure 4® look like injection-molded plastics, with smooth, glossy surfaces. They have no visible build lines, therefore do not require much post-finishing.
To enhance the scope of applications the machine can enable, the AM company has added four new resins to the materials that can be processed by these 3D printers: Figure 4 High Temp 150C FR Black, Figure 4 Tough 65C Black, Figure 4 Tough 60C White, and Figure 4 Rigid Gray.
Key specifications of each material
First of all, one characteristic these photopolymer resins share is that, their mechanical performance and environmental stability properties are ideal for eight years of indoor and one and a half years outdoor per ASTM D4329 and ASTM G194 methods, which means that 3D printed parts remain functional and stable for prolonged durations in indoor and outdoor environments.
The Figure 4 High Temp 150C FR Black comes to meet the growing demand for flame retardant applications. So far, most flame-retardant materials have been developed for FFF 3D printers. This rigid, halogen-free, fire retardant resin can be used as supplied without melting or printing at elevated temperatures. Several applications across aerospace and defense, automotive and motorsports, and consumer electronics might benefit from this material. It is UL94 V0 rated at 2mm or 3mm thickness for electrical components and printed circuit board covers and housings. On the other hand, its compliance with U.S. Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 25.853 and FAR Part 23.853 at 3mm thickness makes it a great choice for the production of rigid covers, panels, housings, and small in-cabin parts for transport and commuter aircraft.
With high elongation at yield (6.6%), the Figure 4 Tough 65C Black provides better snaps and clips. It is biocompatible-capable per ISO 10993-5 and is UL94 HB rated for flammability. Examples of applications with this material include brackets, covers, snap fits, structural and load-bearing parts, and custom fasteners.
From a mechanical properties’ standpoint, the Figure 4 Tough 60C White is similar in overall performance to the Tough 65C Black. However, it is biocompatible-capable per ISO 10993-5 and ISO 10993-10 and can be sterilized using common methods while maintaining its mechanical properties, color, cytotoxicity, and dimensional stability. Medical professionals may find here a great fit for small plastic parts.
Due to its balance of thermal and mechanical properties, the Figure 4 Rigid Gray, the latest in this series, is practical for both functional prototyping and end-use part production. According to the manufacturer, the gray colour facilitates visualization of text, texture, and fine details for functional prototyping and makes it interesting when it comes to perform post-processing tasks like painting and metal plating. Examples of applications here include housing and covers, casings, panels, and trim.
“Our customers lead their industries in innovation, and they are turning to us for support with increasingly complex applications,” said Dr. Edwin Hortelano, senior vice president, materials engineering & development, 3D Systems. “We’re not only partnering with our customers to help them design the optimal solution to meet their application challenges, but in many cases, we are also developing new materials that deliver the unique mechanical properties required. Our materials scientists created these latest enhancements for our Figure 4 portfolio to help our customers produce parts that not only enhance performance but improve productivity. The combination of materials, 3D printing technology, software, and deep applications expertise allows 3D Systems to deliver industry-leading additive manufacturing solutions that accelerate time-to-market and enable competitive advantage.”
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