3D printers can use more than just boring ol' plastic when creating objects. There are a variety of materials available to creators. Stratasys has one of the most impressive material portfolios with over 130 different types, and it's creating more all the time.
In a new quarterly video series, Stratasys will be showing off some of the new 3D printing materials it has it offers. Here's what you'll be seeing below:
VeroClear transparent material and Digital ABS material (both from the PolyJet line of materials used on the Objet 3D printers) and the ULTEM 9085 tan thermoplastic material (from the FDM line of materials used on the Fortus400 and Fortus900 production systems). Of particular interest is the use of Digital ABS material for the production of short-run injection molding and blow molding tools to save time and money on traditional steel/aluminum tooling.
The materials that you see above are intended for the professional grade 3D printers that you can get from companies like Stratasys and 3D Systems. Most desktop 3D printers intended for hobbyists can still only use standard filament. Still, it won't be long before we start to see this kind of stuff in cheaper 3D printers if a YouTube comment left by Stratasys is to be believed:
Many people believe there is a 'Moore's Law' that also applies to 3D printing. So that over time we will see capabilities increase at a geometric rate accompanied by an arithmetical rate of price fall. In fact, we've seen this already over the last few years since 3D printing was first introduced.
The future of 3D printing is looking bright, and the introduction of new materials will make sure that 3D printing will continue to be used in creating everything from hermit crab shells to space station parts.