Now you can design high-performance PTFE parts with complex geometries, undercuts and ultra-fine details that are impossible to achieve using traditional dies molds and machining – thanks to a proprietary 3D printing technology from 3M. Based on vat polymerization, this revolutionary process allows you to take advantage of the unique properties of PTFE in an almost unlimited number of new applications, giving you a competitive edge over parts made with conventional materials.
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is a process for manufacturing three-dimensional physical objects layer-by-layer using digital information instead of molds and tools. Our process uses vat polymerization to selectively cure a photosensitive liquid PTFE resin.
Vat polymerization offers all the advantages of traditional 3D printing along with high dimensional resolution for producing highly-detailed, intricate parts. Our 3D printing process for PTFE is capable of producing miniaturized simple geometric structures as small as 0.2 mm. In addition, unused material can be used for subsequent printing jobs, helping to reduce material waste and contributing to sustainability.
Because of the unique properties of PTFE, this process requires more advanced post-processing procedures not typically required for common 3D printed materials. The major steps are aqua-gel formation, drying, and binder removal during heat treatment – all of which are performed in-house at our fully equipped facilities.
3M technical experts have decades of experience in fluoropolymer processing, and have optimized post-processing procedures to ensure that the final parts meet your specifications. Check out our Manufacturing services for more information.
Current build size limitations are approximately 120 x 80 x 80 mm. These parameters may change as this emerging technology continues to evolve. Sign up to receive news about further developments in our PTFE printing technology and services.
In general, smaller structures are best suited for 3D printing; traditional machining is typically more cost-effective for large, solid parts. Download our Design Guidelines for additional information (PDF, 217.10 KB). You’ll also find helpful information on optimizing your design to meet tolerance limits for build volume, wall thickness, and more.
To learn how design parameters and other factors affect part cost, read about our ordering process.
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