"Versatile" and "easy" were the watch words the crew at MadeSolid had in mind when developing their new line of 3D printing materials. PET+, MS Resin and an investment casting resin were also created with the idea of being usable with virtually any brand of printer.
"Our theory is, materials will drive the market in the future," MakeSolid VP of Marketing Pete Walton said. "(Consumers) are not going to focus on printer brands like MakerBot or 3D Systems, they are going to look at it like, 'OK, what can I make with my printer?'"
To a large extent, that is more or less determined by the materials the printer employs.
MadeSolid's PET+ is flexible, strong and flame retardant. Recorded tests show the material bending completely in half without snapping and melting but not igniting when exposed to flame. Stress tests showing it snapping at 55 pounds of pressure, compared to 26 pounds for ABS and 32 pounds for PLA.
It works in everything from MakerBot to Ultimaker printers, and the ultra-flexible material does not require a special extruder.
But it is the material's ease of use that Walton focuses on. "It's 10 degrees hotter than PLA, you don't need a heated bed, if you have the settings there on board it just helps you that much more," he said. "With ABS you need to have it vented or contained because you are going to get these fumes that hurt your head."
PET+ runs $35 for a 1-pound spool and is ready to ship, as is the MS Resin, which is $100 per liter.
The MS resin comes in black, white, blue and pink, and was created to be compatible with the Formlabs Form 1 printer.
MadeSolid's investment casting resin, which has erroneously been called "PhoenixCast", is also extremely easy to use. Walton claims it leaves zero burnout ash, experiences little to no expansion and is designed for a resolution of at least 25 microns.
The resolution level is tentative because the MakeSolid researchers are still perfecting the formula. The company is accepting pre-orders for the resin, which costs $199 for 500 grams. Walton is hoping to begin shipping it in May.