Orlando, Fla. — There's a lot of buzz about 3D printing of liquid silicone rubber, and R.D. Abbott Co. Inc. and M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. attracted attention at NPE2018 with live demonstrations of the process.
R.D. Abbott has had a 3D printer from German RepRap GmbH at its lab in Cerritos, Calif., since late 2016. The company brought the machine to NPE in Orlando in May to promote the process.
It also gave the companies the opportunity to tease the results of new studies that compare 3D printed LSR parts with injection molded parts.
"Knowing that design engineers are looking for not just fit, which they get out of a rigid plastic, or form, which they get out of a mock-up soft plastic, but they're also looking for functional requirements," said Rick Ziebell, vice president of technology at R.D. Abbott.
"So we looked at heat-resistant studies, and we've looked at materials' resistance to certain environments and compared it to injection molded silicones, and we find that it can handle continuously 200° C, and it's as resistant to UV and steam and other environmental influences in the same manner we would expect from an injection molded LSR part."