Controlled Local Properties in the Same Part with Sintaflex A New Elastomer Powder Material for the SLS Process

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Levy, Gideon N.
Boehler, Paul
Martinoni, Raffaele
Schindel, Ralf
Schleiss, Peter

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A new powder material for the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) process was recently released. The material is a result of fruitful research programs involving industry and university. The well known and widely used DuraFom™ (PA12) and theCastForm™ (PS) SLS-materials were developed by the same team. In the search for new powder materials many properties of the candidate polymer, e.g. the pulverization, the laser absorption and sintering parameters have to be tuned carefully. Previous Elastomer options materials were poor in strength, detailing, and long-term use. The new product overcomes most of the known deficits. It open completely new practices in many branches like: automotive, house appliances, office equipment, foot ware, medical, and many more. The Sintaflex has a Shore hardness variability 45-75 A and Elongation up to around 300%. The attainable yield strength range is 1.3 - 4.2 MPa. The resolution on the SLS part is up to 0.6 mm. It is positioned in good agreement compared with other commonly used injection plastics. Furthermore, the appeal of all SFF process beside geometry and complexity is thought in varying locally the mechanical properties. Some published patents make suggestions in this direction. The new material, due to the particular properties range in function of the sintering parameter, allows first time to realize this wish. The generated part has controlled variable local properties; a new and unique opportunity opens for the SLS process. The paper describes the basic material properties. Further the main sintering parameters are describes and indications on machine settings are given. RP (Rapid Prototyping) applications and the recent practical experience are illustrated. Distinctive examples of local variable properties in the same part and given limits are shown. Some conclusions are stated.


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