Editor’s Pick: Additive Manufacturing Thermoplastic Masters Long Production Runs 

3D Systems Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 3D printing material is ideal for a wide variety of manufacturing use cases.

3D Systems Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 3D printing material is ideal for a wide variety of manufacturing use cases.

New PRO-BLK 10 for the 3D Systems Figure 4 Modular 3D printing platform. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

Dear DE Reader, 

When we selected the 3D Systems Figure 4 Modular 3D printer as our Editor’s Pick of the Week in July, we called it a “game changer” for its ability to do full production runs of thousands of parts with factory quality repeatability from start to finish. This week, 3D Systems extends the capabilities of the Figure 4 with a new material, Figure 4 Production Black 10—PRO-BLK 10 for short. This photopolymer extends the ability of the Figure 4 to be a serious alternative to injection molding, and is our Editor’s Pick of the Week.

Deciding when to use the Figure 4 system depends on economic and engineering factors. The big draw of the Figure 4 System is its ability to directly produce end-use plastic parts in high volume without tooling. Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 will help tip the scales toward additive manufacturing in various use case situations. It offers a fast throughput and a simple post-processing of a single curing cycle and a single solvent cleaning. The result is a smooth surface and sidewall finish. 

One of the secrets to production-quality additive manufacturing is low distortion as the print run continues. There are several 3D printers capable of building production-quality parts, but not in long production runs. Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 passes the low-distortion test with flying colors, extending its value in a variety of situations. 

Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 offers excellent mechanical properties. 3D Systems recommends its use in many situations requiring sturdy small black parts, such as motor housings, connectors, snap-fits, automotive interior and other general-use parts. 

When using PRO-BLK 10, the Figure 4 3D printer can achieve speeds of up to 62 mm/hr using 50 micron layers. It offers 70°C heat deflection temperature and 12% elongation at break. 

PRO-BLK 10 works with one isopropyl alcohol (IPA) wash and does not require a secondary thermal post-cure process. This is much less post-processing than required by competing products, which need extensive solvent cleaning cycles. 

Speed in the print box is but one factor toward measuring total production capabilities. 3D Systems tested PRO-BLK 10 with several existing customers on a wide variety of parts. The company says PRO-BLK 10 delivered a part in hand on average up to 4X faster (including print and cure time), compared to customers’ existing 3D production systems.

We can only touch on the highlights of this new material’s value in this newsletter; check out this week’s Product Brief for more details. 

Thanks for reading, we’ll be back next week with another Editor’s Pick of the Week. 

—The DE Editors

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DE Editors

DE’s editors contribute news and new product announcements to Digital Engineering.
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