In the last few years, 3D printing has revealed some amazing results and shown just how much is possible with a little bit of plastic. However, there are still a number of limitations that come with 3D printable plastic materials, including the level of finishing detail and structural integrity. This is less of an issue with the 3D printing process than it is with the type of material that’s fed through the printer. While the materials themselves are less limited than they were just a few years ago, a new type of 3D printable plastic resin could open up whole new levels of possibility.
Image Source: WIRED
“Tough Resin fills a critical gap in the SLA printer market. Formlabs’ original clear resin allowed for feats like printing a 50-foot-long chain inside a five-inch cube or creating intricate, fragile designs. A subsequent formulation made it possible to print robust, rubbery parts like tires but offered little rigidity. Making a printable plastic that’s durable while retaining high levels of accuracy has proven difficult across the industry. ‘Most 3-D printed materials (and many plastics) are designed for strength, not toughness,’ [Formlabs’ global marketing lead, Colin Raney] says. ‘They can hold a lot of weight, but at some point, under enough force, they fail—and when they fail they snap or shatter.’”
Tough Resin has been shown to take care of this issue thanks to the addition of a blue pigment that can be cured under a UV lamp and result in tougher, stronger products. It could lead to tougher plastic tools, components and other objects printed from the same equipment that makes delicate plastic figurines.