• Figure 4 Tough Clear – first production-grade, clear material in Figure 4 portfolio – opens new industrial applications requiring long-term use parts
  • Company builds on open materials strategy for selective laser sintering with DuraForm® PAx Black – lower cost, highly recyclable nylon copolymer for industrial applications

ROCK HILL, South Carolina, September 12, 2022 – Today, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced Figure 4® Tough Clear and DuraForm® PAx Black – two new production-grade materials designed to address a breadth of industrial applications. Both materials have been engineered for long-lasting mechanical performance and stability in any environment making them ideal for a host of end-use applications in industries such as consumer goods, transportation & motorsports, aerospace & defense, and service bureaus.

Figure 4 Tough Clear Enables Direct Production of End-Use Parts

Figure 4® Tough Clear is 3D Systems’ first clear material for its Figure 4 platform designed for long-term use parts and functional prototypes. Parts produced using Figure 4 Tough Clear possess excellent clarity that is improved with post-processing. This can be extremely valuable for applications such as fluid and gas flow to observe the inner workings of complex assemblies. It can also enhance light transmission and reflection for lenses, light guides and lighting covers. Additionally, this material delivers a desirable combination of customer-critical performance traits including impact strength, tensile strength, and elongation properties which remain stable up to eight years.

Parts produced using Figure 4 Tough Clear are built to last and avoid yellowing or discoloration. Engineered for long-term stability up to eight years indoors, parts are beautiful and functional with near optical clarity achieved with post-processing.

Figure 4 Tough Clear is tested to eight years of indoor and one and a half years outdoor mechanical performance per ASTM D4329 and ASTM G154 methods, ensuring that printed parts remain functional and stable for long periods in real-world conditions. In addition to  lenses, light guides and lighting covers, this material is ideal for a variety high volume, small part applications such as load-bearing handles, cranks, knobs and levers; structural brackets, snap-fits and fasteners; and consumer goods packaging.

“3D printing is the most cost-effective method to produce clear parts, and with the introduction of Figure 4 Tough Clear, we’re giving our customers a path to reduce their time to market,” said Dr. Edwin Hortelano, senior vice president, materials engineering & development, 3D Systems. “Our Figure 4 platform is easy-to-use and facilitates ultra-fast production. With our new Figure 4 Tough Clear material, customers now have a production-grade material designed for long-term stability. The combination of our Figure 4 hardware solution, and deep materials and applications expertise allow our customers to accelerate innovation and enable competitive advantage.”

This armrest was produced on 3D Systems’ SLS 380 3D printer using the new DuraForm PAx Black material. This SLS powder prints at low temperatures for faster build cycles and with vapor honing is nearly indistinguishable from injection molded plastics.

DuraForm PAx Black Offers Material Properties Rivaling Injection Molding

DuraForm PAx Black is the latest offering in 3D Systems’ new open material portfolio for use with selective laser sintering (SLS) printers. As with the recently announced DuraForm PAx Natural, this material possesses properties similar to injection molded plastics and features high impact resistance with high elongation at break in any direction. DuraForm PAx Black is designed to be used with any commercially-available selective laser sintering (SLS) printer, regardless of the manufacturer – facilitating ease of integration into existing production workflows. This material’s mechanical properties facilitate manufacturing of tough, lightweight, production-grade parts for applications such as orthotics, tooling handles, splints, and braces, ducting in rugged environments, living hinges, liquid reservoirs, and enclosures requiring high impact and high toughness. DuraForm PAx Black’s properties include:

  • Low temperature printing (i.e., 120°C) facilitates efficiencies in printing and post-processing
  • Very impressive long-term stability ratings of over five years indoor for mechanical properties and color
  • Using vapor honing to post-process parts moves the elongation at yield capability past that of other nylon materials (i.e., PA-11 and PA-12), and delivers a shiny, smooth finish nearly indistinguishable from injection molded parts
  • High reuse rates (a 30% refresh rate is recommended) helps reduce waste and decrease production costs.

Figure 4 Tough Clear and DuraForm PAx Black are both planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2022. 3D Systems will showcase these materials as part of its additive manufacturing solutions portfolio in its booth (#433104) at IMTS 2022.