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Article: 3D Printing Materials for Production

Stratasys Direct
Stratasys Direct February 06, 2019
February 06, 2019
A lightweight, robust aerospace duct in ULTEM™ 9085 resin

3D Printing Materials for Production Parts

Using additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, to fabricate production, end-use parts has become an increasingly mainstream operation. AM creates custom, complex production parts in low volumes faster than traditional manufacturing processes. 3D printing technology doesn’t require tooling and is capable of producing complex geometries. Ideal for small volumes of custom parts, AM can produce lightweight structures and components with complex internal features, with the same durable thermoplastics and metal materials available in traditional manufacturing methods. 

Wohler’s Report 2018 reported that companies use AM technology to produce functional parts more than any other application. When asked “How do your customers use the parts built on your AM systems?” the polled companies reported that 33.1% utilize 3D printing for functional, end-use parts.

Types of AM Materials for Production Parts

Materials that fulfill end-use application requirements are key to successful AM production parts. These materials need to meet certifications and mechanical properties for industry-specific requirements, such as aerospace flame ratings, medical biocompatibility and energy chemical resistance. There are distinct durability, appearance and tolerance needs across industries.  
In this article, we break down categories of AM materials offered at Stratasys Direct for 3D printed production parts and discuss specific materials that have opened additional options for production applications.  

AM Thermoplastics

AM thermoplastics build tough, durable parts that are accurate, repeatable and stable over time. At Stratasys Direct we offer a range of thermoplastics with three additive technologies, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)

FDM offers 3D printing’s design freedom, coupled with strong engineering-grade thermoplastics, like ABS and ULTEM™ resin, to create robust parts ideal for functional prototyping and production. Selective Laser Sintering and Multi Jet Fusion create tough and geometrically complex components in nylon thermoplastic materials well-suited for low-volume production applications. 

 

Examples of Thermoplastics for Production Components

3d printing materials
3d printing materials

 

AM Material Highlights

FDM Antero 800NA is strong with excellent temperature, wear and chemical resistance. The material has ultra-low outgassing properties and has the highest chemical resistance available with FDM technology. Antero 800NA is perfect for quick delivery of parts to market, especially when there is uncertainty of demand, product lifespan, or when the design is in the early stages, and changes are needed.

FDM Nylon 12CF adds chopped carbon fiber reinforcement 35% by weight to enhance the mechanical properties of the Nylon 12 material. The resulting carbon fiber-filled thermoplastic delivers the highest strength and stiffness to weight ratios of any FDM plastic. The material is an excellent option for applications with high functional requirements, often being used as a replacement for metal applications.

Future of AM Materials for Production

Suppliers and developers of AM materials are steadily increasing what’s possible with existing AM technologies. At Stratasys Direct, years of experience with AM has led us to collaborate with customers on material development. As new market demands arise and companies expand their interest in utilizing AM in their production, new materials will continue to appear on the scene. 

9085, 1010 and ULTEM™ trademarks are used under license from SABIC, its affiliate or subsidiary.

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