Materialise announces the launch of a new, highly flexible and durable material for 3D printing called (not very evocatively) TPU 92A-1. This material is the company’s answer to the need, by designers and and engineers, to go beyond the bristle plastic usually used for printing to create something flexible and resistant.

The new material is now available to customers of Materialise’s professional manufacturing and prototyping services (laser sintering), but has already been used in some impressive tests. Most notably, this is the material used by Iris van Herpen to make the beautiful dresses we wrote about during Paris Fashion Week.

The unique properties of the material include elasticity, resistance to tear, abrasion and dynamic loading, and ability to maintain these properties in a temperature range of -20 to 80 degrees celcius.

What are the applications of this material? The company suggests that it might be applied to some of the following fields:

  • Small series of seals and gaskets
  • Complex tubes, hoses and manifolds
  • Elastic lightweight structures
  • Components for the shoe, fashion and leisure industry
  • Cushioning and shock absorption
  • Rapid Prototypes of elastic components

We’re hoping to see some serious innovation come out of this material in the design and fashion industries, two areas that have greater impact on our daily lives. Unfortunately, for now it remains out of the reach of Makers and autoproducers but we can look forward to a not too distant time when this material will be available to us, if not at home, through online printing services.

What would you make if you had access to flexible material for 3D printing?

 

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