3D printing material is as important as the 3D printing equipment itself. The choice and manufacturing of materials used in SLA, SLR, and DMLS printers will define the use of these printers in high-end development processes.
3D Labs is a pioneer in material research for 3D printers. This German company also specializes in the large-scale manufacturing of 3D printing products, 3D printing services, and R&D processes. Their material LED.W is a photosensitive resin material for SLA printers. It can be processed at very high speeds and molded into shapes various times owing to its SMA (SHAPE MEMORY ALLOY) feature.
In the SMA mechanism, the printed body is subjected to a heat source which makes it soft and moldable. Once the model is reshaped it can be immersed in cold water to harden. The object printed from this material can be remolded by applying heat, giving it the desired shape, and immersing it again in cold water. Even after being subjected to this mechanism a number of times, this material retains its original properties and resilience.
This material could be used in a number of industries like aerospace, automotive and other manufacturing industries. An area that will be immensely benefited from this material is the stop frame animation industry. Film fraternity people could use this as a cost saver. They could make a few 3D printed objects and reuse them repeatedly by remolding and reshaping techniques to make a continuous motion frame.
The material LED.W, is being used for tests and is currently being produced for use by machines utilizing Prodways’ MovingLight® technology, with more rounds of successful tests and improvisations, it could eventually be used in other SLA machines as well.