Multiple announcements of new 3D printers and products continue to roll in ahead of CES 2018, which opens tomorrow at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Boston-based 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs will be attending the event, where it plans to showcase two new resins and multiple mass customization solutions.

“Since its inception, the strength of 3D printing has always been in rapid prototyping, but as our materials have evolved and multiplied we’ve seen an overwhelming increase in parts created for many use cases, including the manufacturing line and more recently in mass customization. We believe we can drive 3D printing into more end-use applications by dramatically improving material properties and significantly decreasing the cost per part, bringing the promise of 3D printed mass customization closer to reality for businesses and consumers,” said Formlabs CEO and Co-Founder Max Lobovsky.

Rigid Resin is the company’s first resin enforced with glass, to offer a polished finish and high stiffness, while Grey Pro Resin is good for functional testing and concept modeling, thanks to high precision and versatile material properties like low creep and moderate elongation.

quip toothbrush prototype

For the first time ever at a trade show, Formlabs will feature both the Form Cell automated production system and Fuse 1 3D printer at this week’s CES 2018, along with some of the innovative, customized products that partners and customers used the technology to make.

quip used the Form 2 3D printer for higher quality, less expensive prototyping purposes during the development of its electric toothbrush, and will have its product development process on display at the Formlabs CES 2018 booth, so visitors can see how the company used the Form 2 to, as Formlabs put it, “overcome significant challenges.”

Pankl part

In addition, Pankl Racing Systems, which develops and manufactures engine and drivetrain components for high performance vehicles, will be showcasing custom parts for its manufacturing line at the Formlabs booth. All of Pankl’s specialty parts need custom tooling, which means more time and money, but by using the automated 3D printing production Form Cell solution, the parts can be made more efficiently for small batch manufacturing.

Formlabs announced a dental 3D printing partnership with 3Shape, leading technology provider for custom-fit ear products, last spring, and is continuing to work with the company now, this time to create on-demand, customized earbuds using the Form 2 and 3Shape’s Phoenix in-ear scanner.

“We’re seeing 2018 as the year custom earbuds will be available to most consumers. This announcement marks a significant use case for 3D printed mass customization at the consumer level, but the implications of the technology go beyond headphones to include hearables,” said Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Pfficer at Formlabs. “We’re proud to be part of the growing force behind accessible, affordable, high quality 3D printing that is making on-demand production of custom earbuds finally possible.”

Today, Formlabs announced an easy, end-to-end solution for mass customized earbuds, and will showcase the intuitive technology for the first time at CES this week, using 3Shape’s new Phoenix in-ear scanner and the Form 2. By combining the power of the Form 2 with the non-intrusive scanner into a ready-made technology package, customized earbuds can be manufactured and delivered to consumers on-demand.

Iain Mcleod, Senior Director and Head of Audio Business Unit at 3Shape, said, “The proven success of 3Shape Phoenix in retail allows shops and earphone brands to finally deliver a unique earphone experience to customers. This exciting partnership offers stores a unique competitive advantage, and earphone brands a true product differentiation to the multitude of standard fit earphones that leak music, are uncomfortable to wear and fall out while on the move.”

From hearing aids to headphones and earbuds, we’ve seen the effect that 3D printing technology has had on the audiology industry. The ear canal is a unique shape, so custom-fit, 3D printed earbuds can offer the wearer more comfort, noise cancellation, stability, and long-term wear than currently available headphones can.

Formlabs earbud mold process

The joint solution resulting from the partnership between 3Shape and Formlabs has wide-reaching applications, with the ability to be used in most mass market environments, and could potentially open up a new earphone segment that was previously available only to performing artists and audiophiles with a lot of money.

To see Formlabs’ new resins and mass customization solutions for yourself, visit the company’s booth #7908 in the North Hall at CES 2018, which starts tomorrow and runs through January 12. 3DPrint.com will also be at CES this week, to bring you all of the latest product and technology news right from the showroom floor.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 

[Images provided by Formlabs]

 

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