Carbon Takes On Foam Innovation with 3D Printing

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Carbon continues to be inspirational in the 3D printing realm, innovating with new materials and working toward production scale offerings, as well as new software, support, and simulation features.

Now, Carbon is making strides in manufacturing foam with precise lattices that are 3D printed. The goal is to make materials for the automotive, electronics, bedding industries, and more that will offer improved performance as well as comfort. Their goal is to allow for greater ease and excellence in the design of lattices, and ultimately, unique metamaterials.

Carbon possesses a library of metamaterials which can be used as the user submits necessary features such as desired weight, size. Their software then creates a lattice specific to project requirements, also checking for manufacturability and providing a range of required mechanical properties.

In seeking to create greater comfort in foam products, the Carbon team employs an open-lattice cell structure that provides better airflow as well as breathability. With a tunable load-compression profile, comfort is improved even further.

“With Carbon’s technological capabilities, lattices can successfully displace foam in multiple applications including headsets, seats, headphones, and orthopedic pads, to name a few,” states the team in recent article.

Even more importantly, safety is improved with the Carbon tunable lattices as the teams make parts able to absorb an impact. They can 3D print one part that serves multiple functions.

“This approach enables products with improved safety performance and eliminates multiple foam interfaces, traditionally a site of part failures,” states the Carbon team. “Additionally, designers are exploring high-impact applications in sporting equipment such as helmets and pads, customized with Carbon lattices based on individual athlete physiological data.”

Performance is a major concern with foam too, and especially in areas such as footwear and protection pads in sports like football. Historically, foams such as ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and other materials have been used for midsoles. Now, Carbon is 3D printing foam that has a range of functional zones which can work separately for high performance. Working with adidas, they have also collaborated on the partially 3D printed Futurecraft 4D shoe.

“Together, Carbon and adidas have pushed the functional performance of footwear to a new level with the launch of Futurecraft 4D,” states the Carbon team. “The shoe delivers precisely tuned functional zones within the midsole. The midsoles have different lattice structures in the heel and forefoot, to account for different cushioning needs for these parts of the foot while running. Carbon’s technology addressed adidas’ complex performance design requirements in a single high-performance monolithic midsole.”

Together, both Adidas and Carbon are hoping to make on-demand, bespoke products centered around specific athletes’ data.

An adidas Futurecraft 4D midsole printed on a Carbon printer, demonstrating varying lattice structures along the midsole.

Carbon’s 3D printing technology should benefit applications for making items such as the following:

  • Bike seats
  • Shoe midsoles
  • Car seats
  • Helmets
  • Headsets
  • Orthopedic pads

“Additionally, Carbon’s ability to print tunable lattices on a variety of resin materials represents an important opportunity for product development teams who are actively seeking materials to replace foam in their products and to improve the end-user experience,” states the team.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your comments below.

[Source / Images: Carbon]

 

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