Today, we’re excited to announce the release the first new high performance material for our Mark Two Enterprise Kit customers — High Strength, High Temperature (HSHT) Fiberglass! This new fiberglass is twice as strong as our standard fiberglass filament and has a 30% higher heat deflection temperature (HDT) at 150 C, while remaining a more affordable option than carbon fiber reinforcement. These high temperature materials properties open up incredible new possibilities and applications, especially to our customers in the aerospace and automotive industries, who now have the material they need to develop “under the hood” 3D printed parts and components for higher temperature environments.
HSHT Fiberglass is just the beginning for us — Markforged has always been committed to providing our customers access to the highest performing materials for industrial strength 3D printing and this year we’re continuing to make good on that commitment. Throughout this upcoming year, you’ll see the release of stronger, more advanced materials that continue to further Markforged’s mission of enabling faster rapid prototyping and production through high-performance functional 3D printed parts.
“2016 is the year of materials at Markforged”— Greg Mark, CEO
To accompany the release of HSHT Fiberglass, we’d like to share the story of an early-access customer success using this new material. The company designs and manufactures custom cable harnesses to specification, which often include over-molded silicone housings on the connectors which terminate the harnesses. The liquid silicone is injected into molds at temperatures ranging from 90 to 130 C, which is cooler than traditional thermoplastic injection molding temperatures. Our customer is able to have the aluminum injection molds manufactured at an excellent price, but the tradeoff is that they are produced in an overseas factory with extremely long lead times. As a result, they have to offer their custom cable harness services with a 12 week lead time on new connector housing designs. If there are any design changes that come up during the manufacturing process, this lead time will increase.
Markforged saw this process constraint as a great opportunity to showcase both our new HSHT Fiberglass, and the time-saving benefits of industrial strength 3D printing with a Mark Two 3D printer. We worked with STL files of one of the customer’s 3D models in Eiger to selectively reinforce the components of their mold cavities which come in contact with the hot liquid silicone. The heat-resistance of these regions were bolstered by the addition of HSHT Fiberglass, in order to prevent distortion of the mold as the silicone injection was in progress. Even with the extra fiber reinforcement, both halves of the mold took only two days to print in total. After printing, the only required post-processing step was the addition of a few locating pins and the mold was ready for its first shots — a 93% reduction in time-to-functional parts.
For a more technical explanation of heat deflection temperature see the Wikipedia page on HDT for a brief overview, and ASTM D648, which details the standardized material testing performed to determine the HDT rating.
Want to see how Markforged materials can accelerate your design, development and production processes? Request a demo from us today and to see how you can give your team the tools to succeed in a world that doesn’t stay still.