When 3D-printing burst onto the scene, its mouth was writing checks its capability had almost no chance of cashing. For all of its grand promises, the results the machines produced were useful for prototyping and very little else. Fast forward a few years, however, and companies like Formlabs have found ways to make the technology far more useful.
The company was here at CES showing off some of its new resins, including a new material that was flexible and elastic. Rigid ABS plastic forms are nothing new, but making structures that can be bent and spring back is something new. According to the company, the products made with the resin have a Shore durometer of 50A, enough to give it, say, rubber-like properties.
Formlabs has also upgraded the resins that it sells for medical professionals to make oral prostheses, called Digital Dentures. This FDA-cleared material, which resembles traditional dentures, is apparently four or five times cheaper than existing methods. That's a saving that dentists can pass along to consumers, making it faster, and cheaper, for folks to get decent-fitting false teeth.
And while not new, Formlabs was also celebrating some of its achievements from the last year, including ceramic resins. These are now used by jewelry designers to create weird and wonderful forms that are then fired in the traditional manner. Not to mention the company's partnership with Gillette, which has led to the make-your-own handle system the razor maker offers on its website.