New 3-d print resin moves market from toys to tools by Formlabs.
June 30, 2015
(wired.com) Formlabs’ recently released its second-gen printer, the Form 1+, a $3,300 aluminum-and-plastic pillar that prints hi-res models using photosensitive resins and laser beams. It might look like a clone of the $2,550 Form 1, which raised nearly $3 million on Kickstarter a few years ago, but the resin it uses is a primordial ooze from which almost anything can emerge. That’s a big deal in the low-cost 3-D-printing market.
The SLA technology Formlabs uses binds each layer chemically. “The key ingredient in the resin is a molecule that starts out as long semi-flexible chain of atoms,” says company research scientist Alex McCarthy. “When we cure the resin during the printing process, these chains link up to form a solid network that is hard and rigid under normal conditions.” When a blunt object strikes a part made from the tough resin, the energy is absorbed and the part doesn’t shatter.