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Six 3D Printing Materials Put to the Test in a Golf Challenge

Additive manufacturing has made exceptional mechanical developments in the last few years, and now the current focus seems to have shifted to improvement in software and materials. With the demand for performance grade 3D printing material rising, it is important to gain an understanding of what it means for parts to be considered “strong.”

It is no secret that the world is experiencing supply chain issues at every level. From raw materials shortages, bottlenecked shipping ports and even labor shortages. To overcome these challenges, a lot of organizations began looking toward additive manufacturing to supplement or complement their workflows, depending on the severity of their situations.

Material Properties to Consider

Most if not all 3D printing materials come with a spec sheet, which outlines how the material may perform in certain situations. Among these properties on the spec sheets, we will find things like tensile modulus, flexural modulus, HDT, elongation at break, and impact resistance. This blog is intended to help users gain a more holistic understanding of impact resistance as it relates to 3D printed materials, using additively manufactured golf balls, printed in a variety of materials.

Putting the Materials to a Test

For this demonstration, we used three different print technologies and six different materials including Diran, ABS CF10, Simulated Polypropylene, Digital ABS, 3843 Clear, and 3172 Blue.

The given impact strengths in the chart below are from the material data sheets under the IZOD, Notched impact test per ASTM D256 standard. The impact demonstration performed for this blog are not to validate or invalidate the values determined by the manufacturer, but instead a way to exhibit how different 3D printed materials across different additive technologies may perform under certain conditions. All the test samples were printed at their maximum density to minimize the number of variables in the demo.

TechnologyMaterialImpact StrengthFailure?
FDMDiran142 J/mNoDiran
PolyJetSimulated Polypropylene30 J/mYesSimulated Polypropylene
PolyJetDigital ABS75 J/mYesDigital ABS
P33843 Clear53 J/mNo3843 Clear
P33172 Blue73 J/mNo3172 Blue

Overview of the Results

As you can see from the data collected during this test, the Origin One materials exhibited superior performance due to their near isotropic print properties. Both Origin printed golf balls withstood the swings without deformation or cracking.

The other material that was capable of standing up to the golf test was Diran, a material exclusively available on the Stratasys F370 and F370CR. Diran is a talc-filled Nylon material with exceptional impact resistance and is best known for its lubricious surface finish and its ability to avoid marring parts it comes in contact with. While the 3D-printed golf ball was able to withstand repeated swings without shattering, it began to deform as the club struck the ball leaving gouges and marks on the ball but leaving the head of the club unaffected.

A New Need for High-Performance 3D Printing Materials

The shift toward end-use parts with additive manufacturing has led the industry down a path to implementing materials that perform well in a multitude of applications. Because additive is a heavy application-specific topic, it is important to understand how these materials will perform, especially in rigorous environments.

Each print technology has certain characteristics and nuances unique to the process which may prove to be more applicable to some use cases than others. Curious which print technology may be right for your organization? Feel free to reach out to your local TriMech sales representative to learn more about these tough materials.