While you can use 3D printing technology to create most items these days, the typical end result is a creation that is both rigid and rough. A top 3D printer company came out with a solution, with their plastic 3D printing option known as elasto plastic. This type of 3D printing allows the user to create items that have more flex to them.
Something New and Exciting from Shape Ways
There are a number of materials that can be used in 3D printers, but usually most results will feel or look the same. A higher end printer will be able to create products that have a smoother surface, which will show barely visible lines in the items, however, the finished product usually feels like a rock hard piece of plastic. Some manufacturers have found a solution to this by using materials that have rubber rings, making the finished product more flexible, although the outcome still often consisted of an item that turned out to be brittle.
The plastic that is used by the company Shape Ways has been described as a material that is both impressively flexible and almost squishy in consistency.
What’s so great about Elasto Plastic?
This type of material is almost elastic, to a certain degree, yet it’s still able to maintain its shape, after squeezing or stretching. The plastic will break apart if it’s pulled too hard and is still considered to be in the early experimental stages at this point.
The plastic itself has somewhat of a grainy finish and is off-white in color. It’s slightly jagged and laser sintered, due to the layer creation process. Currently, while this material is not designed for broader use, it can be used for experimental projects or personal models.
Shape Ways is actually one of the biggest names and manufacturers in the 3D printer field and by adding the exciting new option of using this type of printing material, their sales have seen a significant increase. This material provides the user with some innovative new applications for anything that’s wearable, such as different types of footwear and headbands. This material, while flexible, is also said to be durable and consists of five millimeters of thickness.
Because this material is still experimental, Shape Ways has only made it available for designs that are uploaded, which means you aren’t able to purchase this material in-stores for the time being and you can only have your items created out of it by having the company print it off for you. Once this material has completed the testing stages, it will then be available in stores and will open up a number of options for the everyday consumer and large companies alike.