Desktop Metal has launched DuraChain™ materials, one-part rapid-curing photopolymer resins, Elastic ToughRubber™ Black and Blanc in various hardnesses. They are exclusively offered on the ETEC Xtreme 8K top-down DLP systems. These photopolymers deliver breakthrough elastic and tough material properties for digital light processing (DLP) printing through a Photo Polymerization-Induced Phase Separation (PIPS) process. When illuminated during the DLP printing, DuraChain 2-in-1 photopolymers phase separate at the nano level into a material that cures into a resilient, high-performance network.
A well-known challenge overcome by DuraChain™ materials
In today’s DLP 3D printing, parts produced with standard acrylate-based resin are prone to shattering or fracturing upon impact. For years, the 3D printing industry has been significantly working to improve these materials’ properties in order to get parts more durable yet with increased elastomeric properties.
Photopolymers that cure using the Photo PIPs process have been studied by researchers for a long time but have not been broadly commercialized. Why? Because the DLP 3D printing hardware cannot print the high viscosity resins required for this type of process.
Most DLP systems feature a bottom-up printing process in which a projector is placed below the build area and illuminates each part layer through a transparent tray, while the part advances upward suspended to a build tray. Photo PIPS resins need more energy to cure and they are relatively heavy compared to standard resins. The latter are challenged to suspend from a build plate during bottom-up DLP printing.
Desktop Metal’s DuraChain materials will be printable on one of the additive manufacturing industry’s top-down DLP systems, the ETEC Xtreme 8K.
DuraChain photopolymers have a long pot life of roughly one year, depending on environmental conditions, thus making them more suitable for volume production and reducing waste from spoiled, unused material.
Parts produced with Elastic ToughRubber (ETR) materials
ETR is already being used to 3D print end-use parts. A case study showcases how Dustless Tools, a maker of construction and industrial vacuum systems based in Utah, uses the rugged ETR material to domestically produce its DustBuddie for demolition hammers. The rugged application requires the material to have high energy return, tear strength, resilience and other durability properties. (See featured image)
“DuraChain photopolymers signal a new era in DLP printing that delivers material properties that compete with thermosets in a long pot-life material,” says Ric Fulop, Co-Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “Parts printed with DuraChain resins are high performing in a wide range of temperatures and offer other important benefits that will quickly lead to new material innovations in DLP printing.”
For more information about the Elastic ToughRubber materials, you can check our cDLP / DLP materials section.