Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot, a global leader in 3D printing, has announced that 3D printing materials specialist Polymaker has qualified three polycarbonate materials for MakerBot LABS for the MakerBot METHOD X 3D printer.
Polymaker PC-PBT, PolyMax PC-FR, and PolyLite PC are available to print on the METHOD X 3D printer with the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder. This extruder turns METHOD into an open materials platform, enabling users to print with a wide variety of third-party materials on an industrial 3D printing platform.
The latest material additions from Polymaker to the LABS portfolio aims to enable METHOD X users to harness the strong mechanical and thermal properties of polycarbonate, while reducing warping and curling that occur when used with conventional desktop 3D printing machines.
Polycarbonate is a popular high-performance engineering material that possesses a unique balance of toughness, light transmission, heat resistance, and electrical resistance. It is lightweight, has the ability to transmit light as effectively as glass, and withstand impacts better than other thermoplastics such as ABS.
Due to these properties, PC materials are commonly used for functional prototyping and end-use parts in PPE and medical device components.
Controlling ambient temperature, such as with a heated chamber, is one of the most critical factors when printing polycarbonate.
The MakerBot METHOD X 3D printer is the only printer of its kind with a heated chamber that reaches up to 110°C, letting the parts cool down gradually to minimize curling and warping.
Polymaker President Dr Xiaofan Luo said: “Polycarbonate is often the choice for parts that function in demanding applications. Its mechanical properties, flame retardance, and chemical resistance also allow engineers to push the boundaries of their 3D printed parts and experiment with new geometries. Anyone who is serious about printing polycarbonate knows that a heated chamber is essential for printing large and strong complex parts. METHOD is bringing industrial capabilities to a desktop machine, and we think its users will really benefit from the material properties our PC range offers.”
MakerBot’s VP of Product Development Johan-Till Broer added: “With its up to 110°C heated chamber, METHOD is a powerful and unique 3D printer platform for printing advanced engineering materials. The availability of Polymaker’s PC materials on METHOD offers allows engineers to print polycarbonate parts that they previously had to outsource to more expensive industrial 3D printers.”
To further strengthen PC parts, Polymaker recommends annealing them right after the printing process to release the residual internal stress. The combination of METHOD’s heated chamber and annealing feature is designed to enable users to produce strong, manufacturing-grade parts.
Polymaker materials can be purchased on the Polymaker site.