Oct 4, 2017 | By Benedict

Freshmade 3D, an Ohio-based 3D printing startup, has developed a new 3D printing material that is strong enough to be made into bowling balls. The material, AMClad, is an isotropic Engineered Sand Composite that is ideal for 3D printing “large, functional, and strong objects.”

A bowling ball hardly seems like an ideal object for 3D printing. For starters, it’s supposed to be perfectly round and smooth, which means a very high resolution and lengthy post-processing is probably needed.

But a bowling ball also needs to be incredibly strong: while pro bowlers are great at caressing the ball onto the lane with minimal disturbance, most of us throw in the occasional looping pitch that causes the ball to crash down on the wood at an alarming volume.

With a weak ball, the consequences would be dire.

Freshmade 3D, an Ohio-based startup that is currently part of the Youngstown Business Incubator, has just torn up the rulebook on not 3D printing bowling balls.

It’s done so in order to promote its new AMClad 3D printing material, an isotropic Engineered Sand Composite (ESC) that is strong enough to withstand the gutters, strikes, and turkeys of the average bowling session—as well as more serious applications in the manufacturing sector.

“Compared to nylon, which is a commonly used 3D printing material [and] which is common in the tooling industry, it's right up there with that,” commented Freshmade 3D’s Rich Wetzel. “It can withstand high tensile strengths and it has a good compression strength.”

Of course, the material wasn’t actually made for the 3D printing of bowling balls, or any sports equipment for that matter—in spite of what onlookers at Youngstown’s Camelot Lanes might have thought during Freshmade 3D’s recent PR exercise.

Rather, the Ohio startup sees the new ESC as a valuable tool for companies in the manufacturing sector, who could use it to fabricate a range of products.

“Things like vacuum forming, blow molding…things that form plastics, for example, but also sheet metal forming and even composite layout tools and more simple applications like fixtures, jigs, and various manufacturing aids,” suggests Freshmade 3D’s Brett Conner.

Adding to the flexibility of AMClad, Freshmade 3D also says the material could be printed with a range of surface finishes, from metal-plated to powder-coated.

Freshmade 3D is currently awaiting a patent for AMClad, and hopes to commercialize it in the near future. At present, there is no listed price for the material, but potential customers can get in touch with Freshmade 3D for a quote.

“We are ready to get it out in the market and push forward,” Wetzel added.

AMClad technical specs:

  • Tensile Strength: 5,070 psi
  • Flexural: 9,260 psi
  • Compression: 19,500 psi
  • Peak Tg: 103°C
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.1 mm

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Materials

 

 

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