Formlabs is announcing a new version of its Castable Wax, that’s targeted toward jewelry designers and makers. Castable Wax 40 is, as the name implies, a 3D-printable resin made up of 40 percent wax, which can be used to create molds into which metal can be poured. The company says that the material behaves the same as traditional casting wax, which is used in a process known as “Lost Wax Casting.”
Rather than go it alone, Formlabs teamed up with Rio Grande and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to help develop the new wax. Rio Grande’s Scott Bradford said that traditional wax moulds aren’t great for things like class rings, where the lettering can present a unique challenge. By comparison, a 3D-printed material that behaves like wax enables designers to better create fine details in larger structures.
Formlabs has successfully managed to navigate through the crashed ruins of the 3D-printing hype train by substantially narrowing its focus. For instance, the company has devoted time and energy toward making 3D-printed dentures as a low-cost alternative for pricey dental prosthetics. It’s also pushed its projects with ceramics and jewelry as specific niches where its technology is superior to the existing method.
That paid dividends with the company’s work in biocompatible materials that enabled it to help during the first wave of COVID-19. Last March, Formlabs began producing nasal swabs to address shortages of the real thing to help test patients carrying the virus. Then, in May, the FDA handed down an emergency use authorization, enabling it to print an adapter that could turn a sleep apnea machine into a ventilator.