Stratasys, makers of the Objet and Fortus industrial 3D printer lines, announced some very interesting new materials this week.
They’re previously announced “ASA” for their Fortus machines. A thermoplastic, the UV-resistant ASA offers improved strength and other mechanical properties and could replace ABS plastic filament on their FDM equipment for many operators. When launched ASA canisters were available only in Black and Ivory colors, but now you can order them in eight new colors: Red, Orange, Dark Grey, Yellow, Green, Dark Blue, White and Light Grey.
The other more interesting materials announcement by Stratasys is the expansion of their PolyJet materials, which are used in their Objet and Connex systems.
But first, let’s explain the two kinds of PolyJet materials you can obtain from Stratasys: Digital and Rigid. Rigid materials are simply that: a uniform material that prints as you’d expect. In some Stratasys equipment, you can load more than one type of such material and print an object in, say, two different materials.
But the digital materials are much more powerful. They are mixable - on the fly - to create multiple combinations of materials within a single print job. Check out this example print containing multiple materials, including flexible components.
The new announcement relates to the previously announced “Endur” material, a polypropylene-like material that provides strong prints. At the time of the original announcement, Endur was a “rigid” material.
The new announcement indicates Endur is now a digital material, able to mix with certain other Stratasys digital materials. This capability has been available with some other Stratasys materials, but now you can do the same type of mixing with Endur. You’ll now be able to mix Endur with their rubber-like Tango materials to produce parts with flexible components.
Additionally, you’ll be able to print Endur in a range of grey-scale colors or several flexible combos.