Flexible Polyurethane 3D printing material
Are you looking for a robust and semi-rigid resin material for your 3D printing project? Discover our Flexible Polyurethane. Here is all you need to know to print your 3D model in our Flexible Polyurethane resin material.
Flexible Polyurethane Material Guide
What is Flexible Polyurethane?
Flexible Polyurethane, or FPU, is a semi-rigid material with good impact, abrasion and fatigue resistance. This versatile material was designed for applications that require the toughness to withstand repetitive stresses such as hinging mechanisms and friction fits.
This 3D printing resin material is developed by Carbon.
Find out all technical data in the design guidelines section, such as wall thickness, or 3D printing resolution. You will also find Flexible Polyurethane’s technical datasheet.
What can you do with Flexible Polyurethane?
With the CLIP, or Continuous Liquid Interface Production (DLS) Process, we’re able to deliver prototypes and end-use products ranging from very small parts that meet tolerance demands to medium parts with precise patterns.
CLIP (DLS) enables product designers and engineers to produce polymeric parts that have the resolution, surface finish and mechanical properties required for both functional prototyping and production parts for industries as varied as automotive, medical and consumer electronics.
CLIP (DLS) leverages a range of materials that were designed to meet common engineering requirements — from the elongation and resilience expected of an injection molded polyurethane elastomer to the temperature resistance of a glass-filled Nylon, and much more!
Flexible Polyurethane is a great material with properties that resemble injection-molded polypropylene. This material is excellent for housewares, toys, rigid packaging, living hinges, and anything that requires a lightweight and flexible plastic material. Resin 3D prints create objects which are particularly smooth and precise. They are perfect for ornamental objects..
Resin can be used to prototype new designs, but also to create your end-products. Using this flexible material for your additive manufacturing projects allows for great freedom of design, and create complex shapes. With respect to water qualities, the resin is water-resistant but not waterproof. Thus, the 3D object must not rest in contact with water for extended periods of time. In terms of temperature, if the plastic is subjected to heat above 50°C (122°F), it is possible that the physical form of the object can be significantly altered.
The printing price of your design is calculated automatically the moment it is uploaded. As you modify your object (changing material, finishing, size, using batch control or hollowing feature, etc.) you will note that the price changes automatically. The pricing is based on a series of factors, including total volume, object size, and bounding box – to name a few.
Keep in mind that adding finishing will extend the processing time. The estimated shipping time is also calculated automatically as the object is uploaded and each time you make a modification on it. Delivery time should be added to processing time.
For more information, check our pricing page.
What is the 3D printing process for Flexible Polyurethane?
With CLIP (DLS) technology, the 3D print is printed continuously without stopping from the vat of resin. A continuous sequence of UV projected images, similar to a digital video, is projected as the object is drawn out. The result is a 3D printed resin part that is smooth on the outside and solid on the inside, with predictable mechanical properties that much more closely resemble injection-molded parts.
What are the finishing options available for this Flexible Polyurethane material?
While we remove the support structures during our post-processing steps, the surfaces where the supports structures come in contact with the part will be visible; this can be sanded and finished by a technician upon request. This means there are considerations you should keep in mind during the design of your part to facilitate not only the successful construction of your part but also the removal of support structures and the finishing of your surfaces.
Available in black color, FPU creates final objects that are smooth on the outside and solid on the inside. While its flexibility makes FPU withstand hard pressure, Flexible Polyurethane is not an elastic rubbery material like Elastomeric Polyurethane (EPU).
There are multiple finishing options available through Sculpteo’s online 3D printing service:
- Raw: Supports are removed from the model. Support scars/bumps will still be visible.
- Polished: Supports and support scars/bumps are removed.
|Standard layer thickness||100µm|
Our printer by Carbon3D allows us to print with a layer thickness of 100 µm or 0.1 mm. In consequence, it is important that your prints are exported with the highest quality possible. This will avoid any sort of triangulation during the print – though keep in mind your file cannot be greater than 50mb.
|Maximum size||180 x 110 x 100 mm|
With CLIP (DLS), parts are limited by the area of the build platform and the height the platform can travel to. If you need to build something larger, you’ll have to print your design in several parts and assemble it later. Check out our tips regarding Minimum Clearance and Spacing! While this is the maximum volume possible, certain materials currently have more restrictive envelopes, particularly in the Z axis. If you have a specific need for items with an axis greater than 150mm (6”) please contact us to review your design with you to help choose the most appropriate material.
CLIP (DLS) technology uses specific reagent resins which can cause chemical reactions during the printing process. The surface quality of the FPU can vary above the height of 100 mm. Be sure that our technicians will do their best to guaranty the best possible quality, but keep in mind that very long prints (objects that are too large or too complex), we might get back to you and offer alternative solutions.
|Minimum wall thickness|
|Living Hinge Thickness||0.5mm|
|Accuracy||± 0.3% (minimum of ± 0.3 mm)|
For the upper limit, try to design your walls no thicker than 1cm as bubbles may develop. This resolution holds true for short walls on the order of 2mm protruding perpendicular to the build direction (XZ and YZ planes) as well as in the XY plane. As is the case with any thin or small feature, anything with a high aspect ratio (long and thin) will be fragile and need to be supported by other design features (ribs or fillets) or removable support structures.
Sculpteo offers an online solidity check tool which highlights parts of the print that may be too thin for a print. From there you are able to tweak your design in order to create an object that is an appropriate thickness. To use it, you just need to upload your 3D file, select your material and click on the “Verification” tab.
The lifespan of a living hinge will vary depending on the design of the hinge and the printing orientation during production. Please refer to the technical datasheet to design the living hinge properly.
Do not forget
Keep in mind that our solidity check tool does not detect physical aberrations such as floating parts, unstable position, parts supporting too much weight relative to their thickness, etc. Particular care must be given to the geometry of your design and the most stressed parts must be thickened.
|Minimum size of details||0.5mm|
|Minimum height and width details||Embossed: 0.3mm|
|Tolerance||± 0.1mm tolerance in the XY plane and ± 0.4mm in the Z direction|
|Minimum spacing between fixed walls||0.5 mm|
|Minimum clearance between parts||0.5 mm|
For a successful 3D print a minimum clearance between objects is required to prevent them from fusing together! If this space is not left within the design, the object will be a solid. This is particularly important for articulated objects – as the space left between the walls will define the object’s ability to move. Reaching deep areas is more difficult while removing support material. For this reason, the deeper the object is the bigger empty space should be. For the CLIP (DLS) process, we recommend designing a clearance of at least 0.5 mm into your part.
|Minimum space||0.5 mm|
Objects printed in Flexible Polyurethane can be printed to be assembled. As long as a width of at least 0.5 mm is left between the different parts of the object.
|Files with Multiple Objects ?||No|
It is not possible to 3D print a 3D file containing several objects with our 3D plastic printers.
It is not possible to print a 3D file containing several objects, that’s why we cannot accept files that contain clusters of multiple objects . However, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll pay more for your multiple objects: to reduce the 3D printing cost, we set up a different price calculation as soon as you order two or more objects with CLIP (DLS).
You can also use our online tools and see our tricks and tips on how to reduce your 3D printing price.
To get more information on our additive manufacturing service, you can contact our qualified sales team.
|Heat deflection temperature||C°||78|
|Young’s Modulus||MPa||860 ± 110|
|Flexural Modulus||MPa||831 ± 36|
|Tensile strength||MPa||29 ± 1|
|Flexural stress||MPa||32 ± 1|
|Elongation at break||%||280 ± 15|
|Impact Strength||J/m||40 ± 5|
|Shore hardness||—||80, Shore D|
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