Formlabs, who is now responsible for making a generation of designers and engineers giggle gleefully when they hear the word ‘resin’, has recently released a whole array of new engineering resins aimed at professionals for use in prototyping, molding and more.
Formlabs is widely known for their consumer and commercial grade resin… and their 3D printers too, I suppose. Though I don’t have a Formlabs printer (yet), seeing what people and companies are doing with the printer, along with the new materials, have rekindled ideas for products I had long ago, products that would have required a lot of work and even more mold/die cost.
These new (and one improved) resins come on the coattail of Formlabs’ new Dental SG resin, which they debuted in April of this year and is the company’s first Class 1 bio-compatible resin for producing surgical guides to aid in dental surgery. The new resins carry on the professional use focus to simulate the full spectrum of injection-molded plastics. Have a look:
Designed for use with the Fomlabs Form 2 SLA-based 3D printers, they were developed completely by their in-house materials team. There are four resins all together. Here’s what we’ve got.
High Temp (New)
Formlabs’ High Temp resin was designed to handle projects that routinely encounter, well high temperatures and has a HDT (Heat Deflection Temperature) of 289 0C at 0.45MPa, so far the highest rating for 3D printing materials currently on the market. This mean it’s perfect for thermoforming applications or casting projects. Other suggestions include mold prototyping, heat-resistant fixtures, projects that incorporate hot air and fluids as well as environmental testing.
Formlabs’ Flexible resin was designed to simulate an 80A durometer rubber, which can flex, deform and bend but snap back into shape when there is no more pressure. The resin is perfect for prototyping parts with soft materials such as handles, grips or molds and even wearables. Perhaps protective pads, helmet inserts or even as backing for ergonomic furniture.
Formlab’s Durable resin was designed to be comparable to polypropylene plastic (PP), which can bend to a certain degree without breaking and has high-impact strength and deformation properties. This resin is suitable for prototyping consumer products such as packaging, food containers or spray bottles as well as for producing low-friction parts.
The last resin in Formlabs list is the reformulated Tough material, which was designed to simulate ABS but with increased strength, shatter resistance and deformation resistance. Essentially a solid, tough material perfect for parts such as snap-fit joints, assemblies, rugged parts, enclosures and industrial applications. All of Formlabs’ new resins (and old) are available now with a starting price of $149 for a 1-liter bottle, with Tough or Durable resin available for $175 and Flexible or High Temp available for $199. More information of Formlab’s new resins can be found here.
Molding Made Easy?
Is easier molding and casting a step towards a better manufacturing future? I would say YES, wouldn’t you? Examples abound, but may I present one idea you may have pondered creating in the past.
Exhibit A: Custom transforming toy (circa 2008)
When I think back 8 years or so, and the time I wanted to get into injection molding, I was inspired to create Transformer-like toys like the “Perfect transformation Wheelie” by JIZAITOYS (pictured above). That’s not 3D printed though. Back then, he started with clay, forming molds of each piece. My ultimate reaction was, ‘too much work!’ However, with the Formlabs printers and this new resin… Yeah, I think it’s time to revisit the concept.
Side note: JIZAITOYS inspired dozens of little companies to pop up creating their own third party “masterpiece” level Transformers toys. Unfortunately, a Chinese company copied JIZAITOYS’ mold and sells their creations.