Production 3D printing is often considered to be a process limited to rigid materials. But that is just not the case. High Volume 3D Printing farms, such as those operated by Slant 3D, are able to produce thousands of low durometer parts, all without the cost of injection molding, and much more affordably than other additive processes.
Currently Slant 3D is able to 3D print parts in materials with durometers as low as Shore 00 40. This allows us to make objects such as custom 3D printed insoles, and rubber-like toys. And if we move into harder versions of flexible than we can manufacture items like bike helmets and industrial wheels.
The material that is used to achieve this is TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane). This rubber material is ideal for all kinds of flexible applications. It can be engineered to be wear, and heat resistant. And we also produce components with ESD safe properties.
3D Printing Shoes and Insoles
Since TPU is so durable and flexible it is ideal for manufacturing the soles of shoes. Feetz is one company that attempted to bring about 3D printed Shoes. Newcomers such as Zellerfeld are also working on designs for 3D printed shoes.
All over the world people are using TPU 3D printing to create custom insoles. Pes Sem Dor in South America gathers data about customers feet and then produces custom insoles. Slant 3D performs the manufacturing of similar insoles here in the United States for several different clients.
Flexible Industrial Parts
Since TPU creates such compliant 3D printed parts it is often used in the production of industrial components, such as rollers and robot grippers. The parts are then put to use inside of factories moving other products around.
The 3D Printed TPU is able to hold up through thousands of cycles without breaking down and ensures that new parts can be obtained readily without having to find new molders 5 years down the line.
TPU is just another one of the materials that Production FDM 3D Printing is ideally suited to. At Slant 3D we have worked for several years to implement high volume production of parts made with the material. And we have achieved that. We are now able to produce literally thousands of Flexible 3D printed parts per week. This means there is no longer a need for molds or tooling of any kind.
If you would like to get a quote for manufacturing your Flexible Rubber part please submit your design for a quote and one of our engineers will be in contact within 1-2 business days.