If you’re interested in 3D printing (which is, we assume, why you’re here), you’ll be pleased to hear that 3D Systems just announced some new technology that’s certain to make waves in this industry. In fact, they’ve made a new injection molding material available that’s made from plastic. They’re calling it VisiJet M3 Black and it’s designed to be used with their Projet 3D printers.
The idea here was to create a material that could be used for products that require a greater amount of durability and strength. This is actually the strongest Projet material available to date, which is really quite something in terms of innovation and expansion within this field.
One of the biggest problems with 3D printing technology as a whole thus far is that the end products are often rather flimsy. They are made from a thin plastic that is great for models. However, this creates a situation that’s much more suitable for looking but not actually using, if that makes sense.
This innovation from 3D Systems, however, puts product makers in a place where they can actually make end-user products using 3D printing technology. This Projet material is very tough and has a great amount of flex to it, meaning it can withstand regular use and wear.
The potential applications are numerous and varied. We could easily see this material being used in the manufacturing of replacement parts for a variety of products from consumer electronics to appliances to decorative objects and so forth.
Injection molding is a process that involves injecting a material into a mold in order to create an object. Many materials can be used in the process from metal to elastomers to glass to thermoplastic–the latter of which is being used in this case. A material is heated then forced into a mold where it cools then hardens to form a set shape. This is easily adaptable to the 3D printing process. Instead of forcing the material into a mold, it is laid down, layer by layer, into the pre-specified design. It’s actually quite clever and allows for a myriad of uses to be derived from one, very durable material.
It will be interesting to see what sort of developments this technological innovation brings and how it’s applied to 3D tech as a whole. We’ll be keeping our eyes on this one.
Picture Credit: 3D Systems