Flexible Plastic

What is Flexible Plastic

Flexible Plastic is made from Thermoplastic Polyuerthane, better known as TPU. Because of its elasticity, its good precision, low cost, and the rubber-like fatigue behavior. TPU is perfect for prototyping and series production. It is resistant to oil and grease. Further, it can resist heating to 60°C without any shape alterations. Typical uses of TPU include hand braces, insoles, grippers, handles or seals. As a flexible plastic, TPU is great for both experienced professionals and beginners alike, across a variety of applications.

Properties

The technical properties of Flexible Plastic change depending on the thickness of your model. With a 1.2 mm wall thickness, your model will be flexible and easily bendable. With a 3.0 mm wall thickness, it will become more rigid.

For more specifications, the table below shows the exact properties of Flexible Plastic/TPU.

Printing Method

Selective Laser Sintering, or SLS, is a 3D printing method that uses a high-powered laser to print objects layer by layer from a fine powder. The laser forms each layer by tracing a pattern in the powder. This sinters and bonds the material together. When an entire cross-section is traced, the build platform lowers one layer height. This process continues for each layer until the model is complete. The object remains in the powder until finished. Therefore, the powder supports the object during the print. This eliminates the need for support structures.

The SLS printing process can provide good mechanical properties. This makes it ideal for functional prototypes and short-run manufacturing.

Design Specifications

Thickness & Geometry
The minimum wall thickness for this material is 1.5 mm to ensure self-standing stability. If a wall thickness of less than 1.5 mm is desired, support structures can be used for stability.

Details
There are two concerns to be aware of when printing by SLS. First, the powder can get trapped with the model. Second, the layers can get sintered together when there is supposed to be a gap. Therefore, it is important to have a large enough gap between the walls. 1 mm is recommended for small models, with larger models potentially requiring more.

If the model will be printed in parts to be assembled, a 0.5 mm width is necessary between the different pieces to ensure fit.