The 3Diligent platform supports many rapid manufacturing materials. Currently, the materials available for machining and molding applications is broader than 3D Printing applications, but new materials are continually being qualified for additive manufacturing systems.
Paper is made from wood, grounded into a thin pulp. Sheet Lamination technologies utilize paper as the basis for their production. This results in a part that is effectively a stack of copy paper, glued together. It is almost exclusively used for modeling applications, as it is very receptive to inks for full color printing.
Gypsum is a a soft white or gray mineral consisting of hydrated calcium sulfate. It is commonly used in the Color Jet Printing process, as it is receptive to ink coloration. Generally parts printed using gypsum are extremely brittle and only suitable for modeling applications. Sometimes gypsum parts can be infused with epoxy to create a more durable part.
Resins are photopolymers that are curable through exposure to a UV light source. Many of these resins are capable of closely imitating conventional thermoplastics - at least for a while. However, they are prone to brittleness over time and tend not to perform well after prolonged exposure to liquids. Resin printing processes tend to achieve the smoothest surface finishes and are capable of achieving generally better tolerances than plastic processes. Process options include PolyJet, Material Jetting, Stereolithography, Digital Light Processing, and others.
Thermoplastics are used for 3D Printing as well as injection molding applications. Thermoplastics generally provide a level of durability only exceeded by metals, although certain plastics are actually superior in strength to metal counterparts. Processes using thermoplastics tend to have less accuracy and rougher finishes as printed than resin processes, but typically stronger mechanical properties. Processes include SLS, FDM, and FFF, as well as CNC Machining, and Molding.
Metals are commonly used for heavier duty mechanical applications. They are generally achievable of greater strength and durability than plastic or resin parts. Metal processes include DMLS, EBM, SLM, LaserCUSING, CNC Machining, and Casting.
Below is library of 3D printing material data sheets from a handful of leading 3D Printer Manufacturers for your consideration. It is not to be considered exhaustive, and you are permitted and encouraged to request links to material data sheets from vendors to ensure clarity on the material being proposed.