3D Printing with soft plastics

The most common materials for printing parts with soft plastics are TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer). TPU is a lineal chain elastomer with good chemical, wear, and abrasion resistance. The presence of hard and soft segments in its chemical composition mean that it can be combined in different proportions to adapt the hardness of the TPU to the mechanical demands of the specific application. TPE is a very elastic polyurethane based material, but additives are added to it in order to increase its capacity to warp and to recover its shape without breaking. It has a matt finish, unlike the shiny surface of TPU.

 

3D production process of soft plastics

3D printers for soft plastics such as TPU and TEP require a special extrusion head to resolve any material retraction issues and to ensure that the material flow is constant.

Technical specifications of soft plastics

Types
  • Range of colours
  • TEP from 70 to 90 Shore A hardness
  • TPU from 93 to 98 Shore A hardness
Features
  • Elongation at break point (TPE): up to 900% 01.
  • Tensile strength: 53 MPa 02.
  • Softening temperature: 100°C. 03.
  • Soft feel 04.
Benefits
  • Parts printed with TPU and TPE have excellent amortigation and vibration absorption features.
  • Its simple and good bonding with other rigid plastics means that a TPU or TPE layer can be printed over a PLA, ABS, or Nylon layer to make the surface softer.
  • It has a high warp capacity without breaking, while also maintaining its good mechanical and chemical properties (gasoline and solvent resistant)
FREE DOWNLOAD

OUR PDF WITH ALL OF THE LATEST INFORMATION

Bespoke 3D printing of soft parts

Parts printed with TPU and TEP are ideal for any use that requires a certain degree of warping. The flexibility of 3D printing means that bespoke sealed joints can be produced, both in terms of geometrics and thickness.

Step by step process

1
3D File

– Send us your 3D file ready to print.
– If you do not have the file, send us the item and we will create the CAD file.
– If you need a design from zero, our designers will gladly prepare a quote for you.

2
3D Printing

– We will create the process file adapted to the technology and materials that will be used to produce your item.
– We prepare and condition the printer to guarantee optimum quality.

3
Cleaning and post processing

This step is key when meeting your requirements, and it is one that we are highly specialised in.
The removal of the printing support structures, heat treatments, and surface finishes (blasting, polishing, tooling) are some of the most common post processes.

DISCOVER THE TECHNOLOGY USED IN THE PROCESS

Uses of printing with TPU and TPE

The flexibility and elasticity of TPU and TPE, together with their chemical resistance and large vibration and shock absorption capacities make them the ideal materials for the printing of deformable objects in industrial environments or for specific items.

Uses
Seals
Shock and vibration absorbers
Fashion industry
Protective casings
Handles
Deformable connectors

3d Printing machinery

with soft plastics
 
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) 3NTR A2

3NTR is one of the leading professional plastic printer manufacturers. Its large AS model has a liquid cooled extruder that allows engineered plastics to be printed.

WORK VOLUME 

Large items can be printed up to 600x325x500 mm.

MULTI-MATERIAL 

One of the best qualities of the 3NTR-A2 is that almost any FDM developed filament can be used.

Ask for a free quote

Free shipping for orders over 600€

Other materials

In addition to this service with soft plastics, we also offer it in the following materials: Take a look and decide the one best suited to your needs.

Our offer