New Elastic Resin Designed for Footwear, Transportation and Industrial 3D Printing

Adaptive3D has released a specialty 3D printing resin called Elastic ToughRubber 90.

The world of 3D printing materials is now such that virtually every week a new type of thermoplastic or photopolymer is announced, gradually bringing the portfolio of additive manufacturing (AM) materials up to par with those in the much larger traditional manufacturing space. The latest is a resin called Elastic ToughRubber 90 (ETR) from Adaptive3D.

Car door boot printed from Elastic ToughRubber 90. (Image courtesy of Adaptive3D.)

Car door boot printed from Elastic ToughRubber 90. (Image courtesy of Adaptive3D.)

The challenge with many 3D printing materials is developing something that is the equivalent of materials found in injection molding and other traditional manufacturing processes. For elastomeric thermoplastics in processes like fused filament fabrication and selective laser sintering, parts are not usually strong enough for end use.

For vat photopolymerization technologies, like digital light processing (DLP) and stereolithography (SLA), viscous resins are used that result in prints with low elasticity and poor tear strength. For those SLA and DLP processes in which suitable elastomeric parts are possible, it is due to the fact that long and intense secondary post-processing techniques are used to replace the weak polymer chains formed by the printing process with stronger ones.

Meant to fill the gap where rubber-like materials should be, ETR is a photopolymer designed specifically for DLP 3D printing. Adaptive3D CEO Walter Voit described the material as “a tough printable elastomer for all seasons.

“With stable performance at cold temperatures, a tear strength of 46kN/m, greater than 200 percent elongation, and ease of processing, Elastic Tough Rubber unlocks the benefits of 3D printing to those who manufacture and sell rubber, polyurethane and foam parts,” Voit said.

According to the company, ETR does not need mixing, for higher part quality and repeatability. Leftover resin can also be used in subsequent prints, reducing waste, costs and environmental impact. Adaptive3D suggests that ETR is meant for end-use parts and that it is already being used for producing consumer products.

Though it can be used for verticals such as transportation and industrial applications, according to Adaptive 3D VP Sales & Marketing Kial Gramley, “Ultimately, we believe that the shoe industry is the perfect place for this material and we are ready to scale up production in 2020.”

For those attending Formnext in Frankfurt, Germany, parts 3D printed with ETR will be on display at Booth 12.1 G01.