Get bowled over by these 3D-printed bowling balls
Start-up Freshmade 3D from Ohio have recently announced that they have created a material strong enough to create 3D-printed bowling balls from. The material, called AMClad, is an “isotropic Engineered Sand Composite (ESC)”, that they say is “ideal for 3D printing large, functional, and strong objects.”
Bowling balls have always struck me as a highly-furnished, shiny item, which explains why to recreational players they can become prized possessions. Therefore, I originally doubted how 3D printers would be able to achieve this level of finish on a completely spherical object of this weight. In addition, the bowling balls need to be able to deal with the force that bowling involves. People like me can through some terrible bowls, and they need to be able to handle our mediocrity.
However, Freshmade 3D say they’ve achieved this level of strength. They used bowling balls as an example of just how strong their AMClad material is. Rich Wetzel of Freshmade 3D stated that “compared to nylon, which is a commonly used 3D printing material which is common in the tooling industry, it’s right up there with that. It can withstand high tensile strengths and it has a good compression strength.”
More important uses
The bowling ball promotion shows the strength of the material. This was not however the main reason they developed the material. They instead see the material’s use extensively in the manufacturing sector. Freshmade 3D see this potential to create a range of new products like “vacuum forming, blow molding…and even composite layout tools and more simple applications like fixtures, jigs, and various manufacturing aids,” said Brett Conner.
Freshmade 3D are still waiting for confirmation on the patent for AMClad, so they can produce and profit from it. The material is not on sale yet, and there is no guide price either. We do have the exact specs though, which are: a tensile strength of 5,071 psi, compression of 19,500 psi, flexural of 9,260 psi, peak tg of 103°C and an accuracy of +/- 0.1mm. You can check all the details out on their site here.
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