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Tough engineering plastics are ‘first for 3D printing’

11 September, 2014

The German engineering plastics specialist igus claims to have developed the world’s first tribo-filament materials for use in 3D printers. It says that the iglidur filaments are up to 50 times more resistant to wear and abrasion than products made from conventional 3D printer materials, such as ABS1 and PLA2.

The self-lubricating materials will allow engineers to create robust prototypes or small batch components for test in real-world applications. They can be used in any 3D printer that has a heated nozzle and print bed, and uses ABS filaments.

”The flexibility of using a 3D printer for prototyping real, useable components allows designers far more freedom in the creation of both intricate and simple shapes for workable parts used in motion applications, such as in bearing locations,” says Rob Dumayne, a director at igus in the UK. “All of our standard igus bearing products are available for download in STL format and can be used directly as input data for printing replacement parts. We have also designed some innovative 3D models as reference designs.”

According to Dumayne, parts produced using the 3D printing materials are “almost as good as standard parts”.

igus claims that its 3D printing materials are 50 times tougher than standard materials

The new tribo-filament materials have been tested extensively in igus’ laboratory. There are two materials, each available in two diameters (1.75mm and 3mm). The yellow-coloured iglidur I170 material has a higher linear wear rate. The white-coloured iglidur I180 material is more flexible and can thus achieve a higher bending radius for faster printing speeds. It also has a slightly higher processing temperature. 




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