As 3D printing continues to impact industrial manufacturing, there is a high level of interest in new material offerings that can hold up to rigorous requirements for applications like the automotive or aerospace industries.
Shapeways continues to work with longstanding partners like BASF to make new offerings like Polypropylene (MJF) (HP High Reusability PP) and Nylon 6 Mineral Filled (Ultrasint® PA6 MF) ) available, striving to give customers swift access to as many 3D printing solutions as possible for accelerating manufacturing and getting products to market as quickly as possible.
Polypropylene (PP) is a versatile material ideal for a wide range of automotive, consumer, industrial and medical applications. With its excellent chemical resistance, low moisture absorption and long-term durability, HP High Reusability PP enabled by BASF is ideal for piping, fluid systems, and containers. The versatility of this PP material enables the production of prototypes and final parts offering the same properties as PP for injection molding.
Shapeways also recommends PP, available in grey with a natural finish, for testing complex structures. Its genuine PP make up allows for prototyping and evaluation of parts in critical areas like automotive, where traditionally manufactured PP is used.
PP allows for speed and efficiency in manufacturing, machining and tooling can be eliminated, and it is easy to make changes to industrial parts. Other benefits include:
- Excellent chemical resistance
- The ability to weld with injection molded PP
- Low moisture absorption
- Biocompatibility—meets ISO 10993 and US FDA Intact Skin Surface Devices Statements
Multi Jet Fusion with PP
Shapeways relies on Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) to 3D print PP, harnessing the power of HP’s fast technology, which is also capable of enormous output in production.
Recommended for applications requiring tough parts and complex geometries, MJF begins like most other powder-based technologies: a layer of powder is spread onto the print area, and then particles are melted together. The difference with MJF is that lasers are not used; instead, a detailing agent is used to evaporate and cool the printing area, fusing the layers together with uniform strength. Supports are not necessary, due to the bolstering effect of unsintered powder during the printing process, leading to greater design freedom—along with ease in post-processing and the elimination of the potential for damage in removing supports at the end.
Nylon 6 Mineral Filled (PA6 MF)
Available in black, Nylon 6 Mineral Filled (PA6 MF) is a highly adaptable material, and well-suited for 3D printing as it allows for a transition from metal or alloys to more economical and versatile polymers. Used in highly industrial applications, PA6 MF offers the following benefits:
- High stiffness
- Impact resistance
- Heat stability
- Mineral-filled reinforcements offering properties similar to injection molded parts
PA6 Mineral Filled (MF) has, for example, been able to function as a substrate that could endure coating of products along with holding up for long-term as a highly optimized, end-use product. In many cases, PA6 MF is an excellent choice for prototypes of final series parts that require extensive testing for fit and performance. This is especially true in the automotive industry for engine parts, structural parts, and prototypes that must be functional too.
Selective Laser Sintering with PA6 MF
Shapeways 3D prints PA6 MF using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology, another very powerful form of powder-based 3D printing. In this case, lasers are used to cure powder once it is dispersed on the print bed. A computer-controlled C02 laser traces a cross-section of the design in the powder, scans it, and then is responsible for melting all the powder particles together just under the melting point.
SLS 3D printing is also a technology offering greater latitude in design because supports are unnecessary. Up to a thousand parts may be included in one build, yielding high accuracy and repeatability every single time.
Contact Shapeways now to enjoy the benefits of advanced technology and materials for 3D printing with accuracy, complex detail, and no limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders. Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to make over 21 million parts! Read case studies, find out more about Shapeways solutions, and get instant quotes here.