One of the strongest qualities of 3d printing, particularly FDM 3d printing, is it's ability to take the same material, with the same properties, but make the part itself behave very differently.
For example, both products in the above image are made from the exact same material, TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). They are both a 95A durometer TPU which is a fairly reasonable stiffness, about as stiff as a pencil eraser. However, when printed, the product on the left came out about the same stiffness as a pencil eraser, whereas the one on the right is much more flexible and soft (Figure B). The reason behind this is is because with 3d printing we're actually able to change the macroscopic structure of the part, thus allowing them to have very different qualities. In Figure C, you can see how the product consists of a lot of little strings stacked up on top of one another, making it very soft and flexible.
With 3d printing, we are able to vary the hardness of any parts that we print, all the way from fully solid to super flexible
and anywhere in between. This is absolutely impossible for any other machining process because this type of structure
is impossible to build with traditional Injection Molding. 3d printing gives you the ability to control the properties of the part while still using the same kind of limited inventory of materials. So no matter how odd your product may be, look into 3d printing as a way to get the exact specs that your product needs to function properly.
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