DuraChain photopolymers offer breakthrough elastic and tough material properties for digital light processing (DLP) printing through a photopolymerization-induced phase separation (PIPS) process
Multiple DuraChain materials – Elastic ToughRubber™ Black and White in different hardnesses – will be exclusively offered on the ETEC Xtreme 8K top-down DLP system
When illuminated during DLP printing, the phase of DuraChain 2-in-1 photopolymers separates at the nano level into a material that cures into a tough, high-performance network
DuraChain photopolymers will enable a new wave of innovation in 3D printing
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#3DP–Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM), a global leader in additive manufacturing technologies for mass production, today announced DuraChain™, a first-of-its-kind commercial grade of photopolymers that utilizes a materials chemistry process called induced photopolymerization. Phase Separation, or Photo PIPS, to deliver breakthrough material properties.
Parts produced with standard acrylate-based resins used in DLP 3D printing are susceptible to shattering or fracture upon impact. For decades, the 3D printing industry has strived to gradually improve the properties of these materials and offer more durable and elastomeric properties.
DuraChain Photopolymers solves this challenge with a revolutionary approach that leverages the Photo PIP process to produce tough, tough end-use parts while eliminating the need for a two-part resin. When illuminated during DLP printing, DuraChain materials separate into two parts at the nano level, then harden into a tough, high-performance network that provides a variety of benefits. DuraChain was developed by Texas-based company Adaptive3D, which was acquired by Desktop Metal in 2021.
Unlike two-part resins, DuraChain photopolymers exhibit a long pot life of approximately one year, depending on environmental conditions, making them more suitable for volume production and reducing waste of spoiled and unused materials .
“DuraChain photopolymers mark a new era in DLP printing that delivers material properties that rival thermosets in a long-life material,” said Ric Fulop, co-founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “Parts printed with DuraChain resins perform very well over a wide temperature range and offer other important benefits that will quickly lead to new material innovations in DLP printing.”
The Challenge of Commercializing Photo PIPS
Photopolymers that cure using the Photo PIP process have been studied by researchers for years, but have not been widely commercialized, primarily because DLP 3D printing hardware has struggled to print the resins at high viscosity needed to use this 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 upwards suspended from a build tray. Since Photo PIPS resins require more energy to cure and are relatively heavy compared to standard resins, they are difficult to suspend from a build plate when bottom-up DLP printing.
Desktop Metal’s DuraChain materials will be printable on one of the additive manufacturing industry’s only descendant DLP systems, the ETEC Xtreme 8K.
A new range of DuraChain photopolymers
Several DuraChain materials will be exclusively available on the ETEC Xtreme 8K: Elastic ToughRubber (ETR) 70 and 90, both of which are offered today and differ in their Shore A durometer value. ETR 70 is available in black while ETR 90 is available in black and white, which produces white parts that can be dyed any color for production.
ETR is already being used to 3D print end-use parts. A case study shows how Dustless Tools, a Utah-based manufacturer of industrial and construction vacuum systems, uses the rugged ETR material to nationally produce its DustBuddie for demolition hammers. The rugged application requires the material to have high energy return, tear resistance, resilience and other durability properties.
Additionally, a new video also showcases the use of ETR 70 Black by Aerosport Additive, a high-end service bureau for 3D printed prototypes and production parts outside of Columbus, Ohio. Aerosport has purchased several ETEC Xtreme 8K printers and serves the aerospace, automotive, medical, electronics, and military industries, among others.
3D printed parts in a variety of DuraChain materials will be on display May 17-19 in Detroit at RAPID+TCT, North America’s largest and most influential additive manufacturing event. Printing platforms capable of Desktop Metal production for metals, polymers, elastomers, ceramics, composites and reclaimed wood materials will be showcased at booth #3301 at the main entrance of the show.
About Desktop Metal
Desktop Metal, Inc., based in Burlington, Massachusetts, is accelerating manufacturing transformation with a broad portfolio of 3D printing solutions from rapid prototyping to mass production. Founded in 2015 by leaders in advanced manufacturing, metallurgy and robotics, the company is addressing the unmet challenges of speed, cost and quality to make additive manufacturing an essential tool for engineers and manufacturers around the world. Desktop Metal was selected as one of the World’s 30 Most Promising Technology Pioneers by the World Economic Forum, named to MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies list, and winner of Fast Company’s 2021 Innovation by Design Award in Materials and Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech Award for Sustainability.
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