Oct 25, 2016 | By Nick

Formlabs has unveiled a new range of engineering resins that should turn your Form 2 desktop 3D printer into an even more potent weapon when it comes to rapid prototyping and creating molds.

These new resins simulate a complete range of injection-molded plastics without the individual foibles of each separate material. So if you’re looking for an ABS-style plastic prototyping product that’s easier to work with, a durable resin that can help you conceptualize your finished polypropylene products, a High-Temperature Resin that can make functional molds in a matter of minutes or even flexible resin to prototype new tires and other rubber products then Formlabs has an option for you.

Of course, these products are aimed at the professional user and design and engineering consultancies that have embraced the world of 3D printing and rapid prototyping, but that doesn’t mean a home hobbyist couldn’t use these resins to devastating effect.

Formlabs was founded in 2011 and specializes in SLA 3D printers aimed at businesses that range from product design right through to dentists and medical model makers. Its engineering resins are an integral part of the design process and these new variants are based on years of research and refinement.

These resins are designed for Formlabs’ own SLA 3D printers and mean that designers can print products they simply couldn’t before on the Form 2. They’re designed to give you the look and feel of different materials without the level of complexity and the potential pitfalls. These resins are all about getting the print done, as quickly and painlessly as possible, so that the prototype can go for basic testing and approval and that could be a real competitive advantage for the Form 2 and a welcome addition to any FDM 3D printer.

That same approach works for home hobbyists, garage inventors and even committed model makers that want a specific look and feel without the trauma.

So if you want to make a product in ABS, you can use the reformulated Tough Resin and your desktop 3D printer to visualize, conceptualize and prototype the piece on your desktop. This engineering resin provides a similar compromise between strength and elongation and creates a product that is strong under stress and also boasts better impact resistance than other plastics.

They’re also resist deformation, so if you need absolute pinpoint accuracy and you need the job done fast then this Tough Resin is ideal for the task at hand. If you’re building parts that fit together, prototyping a wrench or doing any number of jobs that need the final print to match the spec on the screen then this is a great resin to go for.

It’s strong enough for snap-fit joints and you can also use it to create rugged prototypes that might take a beating before getting the green light as they can absorb energy before they break or shatter.

Polypropylene is a versatile material that is used in everything from food containers with flexible snap-lock hinges to car bumpers. It comes with a glossy finish and Formlabs’ new Durable Resin means you can simulate the look and feel of Polypropylene with rapid prototyping.

Of course you can’t do a full-sized car bumper with a desktop 3D printer, but you can have a scale model in minutes that will streamline the whole design process or give you a finished product if a model is all you want to build.

Durable locking joint

Formlabs reckons it has the highest Heat Deflection Temperature on the market at 0.45 MPa at 289 degrees Centigrade for its High Temp Resin. So if you need to make a mold for thermosetting that you want to use again and again then this could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

High Temp Resin can be used for testing hot air or fluid flow through a prototype before you go to final production and it can also open up a world of opportunities when it comes to making molds with a desktop 3D printer. Molds can save huge amounts of time and can turn your 3D printer into a desktop factory, but only with the right materials. Formlabs may have just given us the silver bullet.

These engineering resins can open up new possibilities and turn a desktop 3D printer into a complete manufacturing base. Now the only limit really is your imagination and we’re curious to see if the modeling community embraces these resins and the Form 2, as well as the hardcore product designers. We think they just might.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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