Profile image
By solidsmack (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

New Silicone 3D Printing Method Unveiled by German RepRap and Dow Corning

Thursday, February 16, 2017 9:49
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


In a big surprise, at least for me, German RepRap showed off a demonstrator 3D printer able to produce very strong silicone prints.

There are few 3D printers able to print in silicone. The sloppy material requires extrusion mechanics far different from typical hard plastic filaments, but some companies have developed syringe-based systems that can do so. However, German RepRap’s system is a bit different.

They’ve partnered with Dow Corning, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, who has developed a new silicone material specifically for this purpose. It is an “A/B” material, meaning 1) it can be stored continuously in two separate formulations and 2) only becomes the final silicone material when you mix it together.

3d printed silicone machine from German RepRap and Dow CorningGerman RepRap’s two-step silicone 3D printing process

Above you can see the German RepRap A/B mixing extruder rig, where this takes place. The print surface is the familiar ceramic that is slightly heated. The magic occurs when a heat source is passed over the the freshly deposited A/B mixed layer. Two passes are done to cure the silicone into a very strong structure. Removing prints is as simple as peeling them off with a razor blade.

 German RepRap's new 3d printed silicone processRemoving a silicon 3D print from the ceramic build plate by German RepRap’s new process

I’ve personally pulled and twisted some of these silicone prints and found them to be extremely strong regardless of the incredibly thin walls. German RepRap says this chemical/two-pass heating system is superior to the UV approach used by their competitors. They claim it’s strength is “90%” of injected molded silicone. The system is called Liquid Additive Manufacturing, or “LAM”.

And that’s the other thing. As with other 3D printing applications, this system can create geometries that are unachievable with injection molding. In other words, you can make production-quality silicone items never before attempted.

3d printed silicone parts from German Reprap and Dow CorningA 3D printed silicone part with 1mm wide sections (left) and a very strong 3D printed silicone object (right)

I saw this process on a modified X400 machine, but it’s only for demonstration purposes. The company hopes to migrate the tech into their X400 model to produce a powerful silicone 3D printer, which they may reveal at AMUG.

They’re hoping to develop a food grade certifiable silicone material next, which will open up many possibilities. After that, they are targeting a wide range of polyurethanes.

The machine is definitely of great interest, as it could create new niches in the field.

But there’s one thing that may slow them down. One of their competitors, Picsima, can also 3D print silicone, and it’s very likely they hold some number of patents on their process. I’m wondering if the new German RepRap process somehow steps on any portion of Picsima’s patents. I have no idea, but certainly someone will be looking closely at this.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for some interesting silicone prints in the near future.

Read more at Fabbaloo

The post New Silicone 3D Printing Method Unveiled by German RepRap and Dow Corning appeared first on SolidSmack.

Read more about CAD, product design and related technology at


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global

Top Alternative




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.