June 16, 2016 | From Andre
When it comes to the desktop 3D printer market, there was a time when your material choices were strictly limited to ABS. Over the years, PLA has become the de facto standard due to its structural stability and fewer pressure restrictions (for example, no heated bed required). Since then, nylon, wood filling, polypropylene-like, bronze filling, and all other experimental materials have appeared. All of these experiments limited the reliability of 3D printing, so PLA and ABS remain champions to this day.
But the stiffness of these materials made people ask for more. Ninjaflex, a popular flexible filament brand, hit the streets in late 2013 and has been the most reliable of all flexible materials ever since. It seems that New York-based Voodoo Manufacturing has seen increasing demand for this material and is now offering Ninjaflex (and its slightly stiffer Semiflex) to its repertoire of available materials through its 3D printing service center.
Founded in 2015 by a group of ex-Makerbot engineers, Voodoo Manufacturing focuses on low-cost, high-volume 3D printing through their fleet of 130 Replicator 2-3D printers (without a doubt the best 3D printer released by Makerbot to date ).
Co-founder Jonathan Schwartz explains: “Over the past few months we have been testing TPU filaments for 3D printing to see if there is a way to offer this material in a scalable and reliable way. We are happy to announce that we have succeeded in developing in-house technologies that enable us to offer TPU at scale, and we look forward to working with partners to push the boundaries of what is possible. “
For me it’s a great idea to offer Ninjaflex through their 3D printing service. I’ve worked with the material for years and since the object to be produced is relatively simple with minimal support requirements, it continues to prove to be an incredibly versatile and reliable material. While it is difficult to get exact flexibility values (durometer values) like with higher quality 3D printers, a little experimentation with model density and wall thickness goes a long way.
I found that Voodoo Manufacturing didn’t specifically mention that the material was actually Ninjaflex until you dig deeper into the material data sheet accessible on their site. Regardless of this, the Replicator 2 3D printer they use is actually very suitable for the material (loads, for example, light compared to 5th generation Makerbot replicators). Kudos to the team at Voodoo Manufacturing.
All in all, what I’m most impressed with is the site’s listing system, the sheer number of 3D printers, and their very affordable prices (I walked some STLs through their listing system and wow!). The compelling case studies that show projects they’ve worked on in the past are also well worth a look (the 3D printed dress is definitely a must-have).
Sometimes I feel like I’ve just become the rickety old hipster in the 3D printing racket by saying, “I offered Ninjaflex to customers before it was cool.” But who I’m kidding, Ninjaflex by Fenner drives are one of them better material options to hit the market in recent years. So it’s exciting to see how others incorporate their use into their business strategies.
Posted in 3D Printing Service
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Biged Fromny wrote on 2016-06-16 15:26:42:
It’s a shame that they offer services with their Makerbot Z18 3D printers but don’t have any that work. I wonder what else is wrong with their marketing.