It’s inspiring to see all the progress when it comes to 3D printing, but the whole process jumps even further when the 3D printing materials themselves evolve. Just in the past week, two companies have introduced their new soft, rubbery, squishy, flexible plastic 3D printing material. The one I’m featuring today is being promoted by Shapeways, and it’s the new and improved Elasto Plastic. Right now, this plastic is only in the experimental stages, but it’s still available.
What that means is that they are inviting anyone who loves 3D printing to basically be on the R&D team for this new material. On July 20th they will assess what users have said about their experiences with this squishy, flexible plastic. At that point, they will either add it as a permanent addition to the Shapeways site, or they will go back into the design process to do more refining.
You can click over to the Shapeways blog to read more about it and see some products made with this flexible plastic. When you think about printing something in a soft, flexible plastic, suddenly so many new ideas are possible. However, as of right now, the jury is still out on whether or not users think this type of 3D printing material will truly be useful and worthwhile.
The other company that also announced their flexible plastic polymer 3D printing material last week is iMaterialise. However, it won’t be as easy to try their new material first hand quite yet. For example, it cannot be sold or imported to anyone in the United States yet. There are other restrictions as well. If you want to learn more about this flexible plastic by Shapeways, you can click over to 3D Printing Industry where there is a detailed write-up about its properties as it relates to strength, temperature, resistance, etc. Exciting!