Structur3d, a developer of soft materials for additive manufacturing, introduces water-soluble molds for use in custom-manufacturing rubber parts. The company’s Inj3ctor Platform, which injects industrial-grade liquid materials into 3D-printed molds, leverages the dissolvable PVA filament and 3D printing technology of Ultimaker to custom design complex molds that dissolve in regular tap water.
As larger manufacturers explore the future of manufacturing custom and on-demand products for consumers, they face challenges to create high-quality products. 3D-printing alone is not enough to develop factory-grade flexible parts. In response, Structur3d launched the Inj3ctor platform that injects 3D-printed molds with factory-grade liquid materials to create flexible parts. However, if the custom part includes complex shapes, the removal of insoluble plastic molds increases the risk of damage to the rubber part. That’s why Structur3d launched a solution that 3D-prints molds using single-use dissolvable filament that washes away in the water. This solution allows manufacturers to design more intricate parts without the damage risk. The molds are 100% biodegradable with no hazardous by-products, and the material has strong thermal stability, withstanding the heat produced by silicone’s curing process.
Ultimaker’s open platform enables solutions from companies like Structur3d. The Inj3ctor platform harnesses Ultimaker Cura and the Ultimaker S5 3D printer and soluble PVA molds to create a solution to combine the principles of injection molding with 3D printing. Using 3D-printed molds, the Inj3ctor uses curated material cartridges to mix and inject 2-component (2K) flexible materials into any customizable shape, enabling turnkey, small-batch manufacturing of rubber materials. The company is advancing and solidifying 3D printing’s role within industrial manufacturing by expanding its material capabilities to create new products with factory-grade rubber materials, like silicones and polyurethanes.