Finding the right materials for 3D printing

In addition to these known chemistries, VELOX also offers other materials suitable for 3D printing. These include bio-based co-polyesters, Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG by SK Chemicals), Thermoplastic Polyurethanes and Elastomers (TPU/TPE by Lubrizol and SK Chemicals) and other engineering compounds. Each material offers special characteristics for most industries such as flexibility, stiffness, low moisture absorption, excellent mechanical properties, chemical resistance or high transparency.

A new material which is revolutionising the industry is PEEK, a PolyEther Ether Ketone. It is a semi-crystalline, thermoplastic polymeric material that is resistant to many corrosive chemicals. Its excellent mechanical properties, such as high wear resistance, and stability in high temperatures make it highly desirable for industrial applications. VELOX has introduced PrimeTec® PEEK 20G, and is sampling this material for comparison testing with filament manufacturers. Initial results for its widespread industrial potential are promising.

Turning our focus to powdered materials for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), VELOX has selected within its portfolio a number of atomised powders and additives that offer further potential. Atomised aluminium powder, produced by Calfors Bruk, can be added into the mix to give an increased heat resistance to SLS powders, and increasing conductivity. This aluminium powder can also give a metallic effect to the printed part.

To increase the hardness and toughness of SLS printed parts, solid glass beads can be added; these are made by Potters. They have the potential to lower resin demand during printing for higher volume loading. The low-density hollow glass beads can also reduce the overall weight of the part. An additional benefit of using glass beads as a filler is that the thermal stability of the material is increased significantly, which makes printed parts suitable for use in high temperature environments.

Another interesting and exciting filler is milled carbon fibre from Zoltek. This material, called Panex PX30MF, gives antistatic properties to the printed part and a good conductivity, along with an improvement in mechanical resistance.

In addition to its wide European footprint and qualified sales and marketing service, VELOX offers filament and SLS powder manufacturers a wealth of material and technical expertise. With its first-class suppliers from around the world, the new VELOX specialist additive manufacturing division offers materials to fit almost all FDM/FFF and SLS printing needs.

Author: Manuel Delgado, Market Manager 3D Printing, VELOX GmbH

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