There are several material manufacturers that top the charts in terms of offering outstanding products for the additive manufacturing community.
DSM Somos is one such company that continually cranks out new and innovative materials that improve part quality. Recently, the company launched Somos NeXt, an advanced resin that can produce parts that demonstrate a surprising combination of stiffness and toughness which typically characterize thermoplastic materials. Parts generated using Somos NeXt exhibit high feature detail, dimensional accuracy, and aesthetics offered by stereolithography (SLA) processes.
Many types of sporting equipment that undergo harsh and continuous use are ideal candidates for Somos NeXt.
These parts are ideally suited for use in functional testing applications known as low-volume manufacturing applications where exceptional toughness is required. Application segments for the new material include aerospace, automotive, consumer products, and electronics. It’s been reported that it is compatible for producing functional end-use performance prototypes including snap-fit designs, impellers, duct work, connectors, electronic covers, automotive housings, dashboard assemblies, packaging, and sporting goods.
The company beta tested the material among a group of highly demanding professionals who are very familiar with various resin technologies and represent a diverse range of application areas. They all agreed that Somos NeXt represents a generational step forward in producing prototyped SL parts that was not previously possible.
SLA plastic materials
3D Systems is another manufacturer that offers impressive RP materials on a regular basis. For instance, its newly announced Accura Xtreme Plastic is a new material for use with solid-state SLA systems. Parts generated with this material are said to have the look and feel of durable molded plastic, outstanding durability and impact resistance, thermal resistance over 60° C, easy to use low viscosity formulation, and fully developed and tested build styles.
Highly durable and accurate Accura Xtreme SLA Material for demanding applications.
The company says customers will discover increased application opportunities using this material because it is suitable for assemblies and functional testing. Prototypes made of this material can withstand modest temperatures without distortion. Customers will also realize faster recoating and build times and maximum reliability with no R&D required.
The seat on this motorcycle is made of Accura Xtreme and it was used to test the functionality, fit, and design on this Brammo Motorcycle.
Accura Xtreme is well suited for form, fit, and function prototypes that required durable assemblies, snap-fit assemblies, tough enclosures, consumer electronic components, master patterns for RTV/silicone molding, and it can replace CNC machining of polypropylene and ABS.
Here is an actual Brammo Motorcycle Accura Xtreme part finished in 3D Systems iPro SLA systems.
3D Systems recently launched Accura PEAK Plastic, a newly engineered SLA plastic designed for optimal performance, accuracy and stability during prolonged exposure to elevated temperature and humidity. The product is ideal for automotive, aerospace, and motorsports applications whose rigors require strength and stiffness and the highest levels of thermal and humidity stability. Accura PEAK Plastic is a precision material for the production of high definition master patterns, fixtures and jigs, thermoforming tools, and functional models requiring accuracy and dimensional stability over time. Additionally, the properties of this new plastic make it a natural fit for the custom production of under-the-hood automotive parts for performance evaluations.
High temperature functionality testing with Accura Peak SLA Material. Prototype produced with Accura Peak SLA material withstands high temperatures for real live water boiling testing.
It has been reported that the product is a breakthrough material specifically tailored for extreme operating environment applications. A company spokesperson said, “This new plastic supports our geographic expansion plans into regions of the world where extreme ambient conditions dictate this level of performance stability.”