Across different 3D printing techniques, selective laser sintering (SLS) is mostly known for detailed and high surface quality prints made from PA (polyamides) to produce hard and stiff objects. But what if there was a soft material for SLS 3D printers?
Formnext 2018 will be the first opportunity to see the new Flexa Soft by Sinterit. This material from the TPU (thermoplastic polyurethanes) group has softness ranging between 40 – 55 in Shore A type scale.
The range of applications is extensive. From fashion to medicine – when you need to simulate soft material.
For trial surgeries
In the last few years, based on medical imaging, 3D printing is getting attention of medical researchers, academics and practitioners. For some surgeons, it is routine to use 3D printed models before the operation. But when you 3D print an organ from a hard material, it is difficult to cut it with a scalpel. Flexa Soft is much easier.
In the opinion of several medics, this material perfectly imitates the hardness of some tissues. Models made from this powder are excellent to touch and can easily take the desired shape under load or pressure, retaining its geometry when unloaded.
A new direction in fashion
For the fashion industry, it is a game-changing product. Until now, Sinterit was answering the needs of fashion designers with another material called Flexa Black. Now the possibilities are broader, as Flexa Soft can easily adjust to the wearer’s body. During Formnext 2018 Sinterit will launch a few more materials.
“Our clients are very keen on experimenting with new powders and continually asking us to develop new ones, which will broaden the manufacturing possibilities of both Sinterit Lisa printers,” says Konrad Glowacki, one of the co-founders of Sinterit. “We are very open to those inquiries because we are aware that the capabilities of SLS rapid prototyping have not been fully used yet,” he adds.
With enhanced elasticity, it is also a great choice to use it for prototyping gaskets or sensory toys. The best way to find out more applications of Flexa Soft is to try it on Lisa or Lisa Pro. Sinterit is planning to launch several new powders. As for now, the company has in its offer PA12, PA11 Onyx and three TPU materials – Flexa Black, Flexa Grey and Flexa Soft.
Formnext, Frankfurt, Germany, from November 13-16th, booth G41, Hall 3.1) with both printers: flagship Lisa and this year special Lisa Pro.