3D Printing has enabled many of the world’s most demanding industries to break into new areas of manufacturing and production with materials that can withstand the harshest environments.
As market demand for low-mid volume manufacturing surges due to economic and environmental pressures, the focal point of additive manufacturing has shifted material development to include mechanical properties such as lower coefficients of friction, increased rigidity or even increased heat resistance to meet stringent product design requirements.
The need for high heat resistant 3D printing materials is prevalent in a breadth of industries including aerospace, automotive, and industrial equipment manufacturing in applications to assist in machining operations and assembly or even end-use production parts. As the capabilities of additive manufacturing expand, we must realize that different technologies fit in different places of the product life cycle. Stratasys offers high heat resistant materials on three different platforms including FDM, SLA, and P3 to address the needs of any organization, independent of where their product is in its design cycle.
Heat Resistant FDM Materials
Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM for short, is the process of depositing semiliquid plastic along a predetermined tool path, layer-by-layer, until the build is complete. FDM uses a wide range of thermoplastics from low-cost materials like PLA and ABS to high performance engineering thermoplastics such as carbon filled nylon composites.
FDM technology is well suited for large robust parts to be produced in low volumes or prototyping for fit, form, and function testing. Stratasys has brought multiple different high temperature resistant thermoplastics to market on the Fortus line of 3D printers that boast a slew of other impressive mechanical properties.
FDM Material: ULTEM 1010
ULTEM 1010 is a top choice for the aerospace, automotive, and healthcare industries for its array of certifications including ISO 10993, USP Class VI and NFS 51 all in addition to its outstanding heat deflection temperature of 214.1 °C (417.3 °F). This elevated heat resistance combined with superb strength and chemical resistance makes this material desirable for medical work holding applications as it can withstand the intensity of the sterilization process and is durable enough to last multiple cycles.
FDM Material: ULTEM 9085
ULTEM 9085 is a top choice among the aerospace manufacturing industry for its exceptional strength to weight ratio and excellent heat deflection temperature of 176.9 °C (350.4 °F). This UL-94 V0 rated material’s raw resin testing and stringent QA provides a fully traceable product with certificates of compliance per specific aerospace requirements that make it a natural fit for the aerospace industry.
ULTEM 9085 is available in black and natural and can prove beneficial in both prototyping and end-use applications and provide the traditional benefits of additive manufacturing such as reducing lead times and light-weighting designs.
FDM Material: Nylon 12CF
Nylon 12CF offers the market the obvious solution to an age-old problem. Traditionally manufactured parts are often too heavy for operators to work efficiently or effectively without substantial risk of injury, or simply is not sustainable in the long run.
Nylon 12CF is one of the most sought-after thermoplastics in the additive industry because of its ability to withstand temperatures of up to 160.4C (320.7F) and its best in class stiffness-to-weight ratio. Made up of 35% chopped carbon fiber by weight, this material is ideal for welding fixtures, drill guides, and more.
Stratasys is able to provide this material as well as the previously mentioned, on massive platforms allowing parts with dimensions of up to 36”x 24” x 36” giving manufacturers a way to light weight large manufacturing aids in one piece. The overall reduction in weight and time to part with Nylon 12CF makes it an ideal FDM thermoplastic for automotive, aerospace, and industrial manufacturing industries alike.
Heat Resistant P3 Materials
New to the Stratasys portfolio, the Origin One brings Photelectric Photopolymerization or P3 technology to market. The DLP printing process is rather unique due to the parts being built upside down. The head is submerged into the vat of liquid and the 2D image of the parts cross section is projected with a 4K light that then cures the resin to the head. This process continues layer-by-layer until the build is complete.
The Origin One is a unique revolution in manufacturing that provides incredible material properties with near injection molded surface finish and micron level detail. With key insights and thoughtful innovation, Stratasys has implemented various means of reducing separation forces and providing optimal build conditions to bring the strongest, highest heat resistant and highest performance materials to market with key partners such as Henkel Loctite, Covestro, and BASF.
One of the most note worthy materials on the Origin One platform is 3955 FST from Loctite. This high performance thermoset resin can withstand temperatures of 245 C (545 F) and passes UL94 V-0 flammability requirements and FST ( AITM2-0002, AITM2-0007, AITM3-0005). The Origin One is capable of producing large volumes of parts at staggering speeds making it the ideal platform for mid volume flight ready part production.
Stereolithography High Heat Materials
With the addition of Neo to Stratasys’ portfolio in early 2021, Stratasys can now provide stereolithography users with a high heat resistant material and due to the open material ecosystem, there may be dozens more 355 um wavelength resins to suit even the most niche applications.
Neo provides users a dynamic and easily controlled SL process that boasts reliability, accuracy and repeatability. Neo is equipped with a laser located on the upper portion of the machine that traces the designated toolpath into the resin onto the tray layer-by-layer until the parts are complete. Neo is capable of producing large scale prototypes or low volume production for a wide variety of industries including consumer products, industrial equipment and medical industry.
Somos PerFORM is a ceramic composite resin capable of withstanding temperatures of 268 C ( 514F ) and is ideal for a wide range of applications such high temperature prototyping or work holding at elevated temperatures. Its low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and high rigidity means that your parts will remain dimensionally accurate and structurally sound when high loads and temperatures are combined. These properties and excellent surface finish make it ideal for low volume molding applications as well.
As the world continues to adapt and change to the “new normal”, so do the manufacturing efforts that support the increasing demand; especially as traditional supplies or means of doing things become less achievable. Stratasys continues to address key manufacturing challenges with additional higher heat resistant materials. These initiatives support high temperature production, independent of its stage in the product development life cycle.