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3D Printing Materials

Plastics

Plastics are the most common materials used widely in 3D printing industry. FDM/FFF technologies are best known for using plastics. There are too many varieties of plastics with different technical specs.

At Proto 21, we offer the following materials:

PLA: PLA stands for Polylactic acid, originally developed as bio-plastic. It is derived from plant starches found in potatoes, corn and soy. This is the most affordable 3D printing plastic material which prints really good details for wide range of applications because it is so easy to use. It is very rigid and actually quite strong but is very brittle at the same time.

Technical Specs:
  • Layer Resolution: 60 micron
  • Melting temperature: 145 C – 160 C
  • Glass Transition: ~60 C
  • Hardness: 83 (Shore D)
Advantages:
  • Low costs
  • Biodegradable
  • Fine Resolution
  • Fast turnaround times
Disadvantages:
  • Non-functional
  • Low Impact resistance

ABS: Acrylonitrile, Butadiene & Styrene, three monomers mixed and linked together to form ABS. Our ABS 3D printing services are used in array of industries worldwide. The final product is well known for its exceptional mechanical properties but is not suitable for food contact & in-vivo applications.

It is a widely used thermoplastic in the injection molding industry. Printed ABS matches 80% of the strength of injection-molded ABS. It’s used for applications such as electronic housings, automotive components, and LEGO bricks.

Technical Specs:
  • Layer Resolution: 60 micron
  • Melting Temperature: 225 C – 245 C
  • Tensile stress at break: 33.9 MPa
  • Hardness: 76 (Shore D)
Advantages:
  • Functional Prototypes
  • High Mechanical strengths
  • High Thermal Resistance
Disadvantages:
  • Warping
  • Bad odor
  • Not food friendly
  • High fume emission

TPU: When durability and flexibility are essential, TPU should be your choice. It is mostly used for wide array of manufacturing projects that demand the qualities of both rubber and plastic. Designed for 3D printing consistency, it is a semi-flexible and chemical resistant filament with strong layer bonding.

Technical Specs:
  • Layer Resolution: 60 micron
  • Shore-A hardness of 95
  • Melting temperature of 220C
  • Up to 580% elongation at break
Advantages:
  • Good abrasion resistance
  • Resistance to oil and greece
  • High impact Strength
  • High elongation rates
Disadvantages:
  • Difficult to post process
  • Can’t be glued easily

Polyamide

PA12(SLS) is the most common material used by professional 3D printing services. As for the numbers that follow the abbreviation PA (which stands for Polyamide), it simply indicates the number of carbon atoms in the material. You can prototype high end prototypes with functional properties which can include interlinking & interlocking parts. It can be finished in many ways i.e dyed, smoothed, spray-painted, velvet finished etc.

Technical Specs:
  • Layer Resolution: 60-150 microns
  • Tensile Strength: 54 Mpa
  • Hardness: 75 (Shore D)
  • Melting Point: 200 C
Advantages:
  • Functional prototyping
  • Chemical resistance
  • Food safe
  • High thermal properties
  • Excellent durability
  • Low Moisture absorption
Disadvantages:
  • High costs
  • Less Accessible

Sandstone (Full Color)

Sandstone is a Full-color 3D printable material which is perfect for figurines, avatars, showcase models with a decent resolution of prints. After printing, the models are finished with a cyanoacrylate (super glue) sealant to ensure durability and vivid colors. The final product is a hard, brittle material that works great for figurines and visual models, but isn’t well suited to functional parts or daily handling. Models should be handled carefully, and not exposed to water as it will cause fading.

Advantages:
  • Full Color
  • Life like sculptures
  • Affordable pricing
  • Fastest turnaround time
Technical Specs:
  • Layer Resolution: 100 microns
  • Min Supported Wall thickness: 2.0mm
  • Min Embossed/engraved detail: 0.4mm
  • Tensile Strength: 2.83 MPa
Disadvantages:
  • Non functional parts
  • Surface finish
  • Very Brittle
  • Low abrasion
  • Intricate Features
  • Colors fade on water contact

Resin

Resin is a photopolymer which is in state of viscous liquid that is cured into a solid by exposing a UV light. It is a choice when a high level of detail and smooth finish is required.

Due to high resolution of print layers it has injection mold-like smooth surface. It has wide range of applications since there are different resins available as follows:

Technical Specs:
  • Layer Resolution: 25-100 microns
  • Tensile Strength: 42.4 Mpa
Advantages:
  • No design restrictions
  • Small, high detail models
  • Short turnaround times
  • Highest Accuracy
Disadvantages:
  • Large Models
  • Extensive exposure to UV light
  • Support Structures required

Standard Grey Resin: High detail and smooth surface, injection mold-like prototyping. Standard resin (SLA) is a high-detail resin that produces parts with a smooth, injection mold-like surface finish. It is brittle and used for non-functional parts.

Dental Resin: Dental resins (SLA) are high-detail, sterilizable and biocompatible resins capable of producing dental implants.

Castable Resin: Castable resin (SLA) is a high-detail resin used to produces patterns for investment casting. They burn out cleanly with no ash or residue.

Tough Resin: When you want to prototype strong functional parts that can be assembled and go through stress. Choose tough resin which comes with great transparent turquoise color.

Durable Resin: When the application has high wear and tear durable resin is the one. Having high elongation, high impact strength with good resistance of deformation. Durable Resign parts have smooth glossy finishes.

Flexible Resin: The parts printed with flexible resign can bend and compress. It can be used for wearable prototypes, handles, grips and packaging.

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