AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

Carbon Releases New Flame-Retardant Photopolymer 3D Printing Resin


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Most recently making AM industry headlines due to its new M3 Series printers and the availability of its Carbon Design Engine to non-customers, the latest news from Carbon is its newest material, a flame-retardant photopolymer resin called EPX 86FR that makes use of the 3D printing unicorn‘s patented dual-cure process. The new material—part of the company’s idea-to-production platform—features high strength, long-term stability, functional toughness, and, of course, flame retardance; this latter property means the resin can be used for multiple applications in the aerospace, automotive, consumer, and industrial markets that need UL 94 V-0 or FAR 25.853(a) ratings.

The new EPX 86FR is compatible with Carbon’s M1, M2, M3, M3 Max, and L1 3D printing systems, and has similar properties, such as temperature stability and toughness, to the company’s high-strength EPX 82 epoxy-based engineering material, but with the added benefits of higher green strength and accuracy, and less warpage.

“We’re thrilled to bring this new material to market, broadening the already impressive materials offerings we have for our clients. EPX 86FR was created for critical industries and markets that require a V-0 flame rating, high performance mechanical properties, and smooth surface quality in a reliable, consistent, and high throughput printing platform,” Jason Rolland, Senior Vice President of Materials at Carbon, stated in a press release.

Carbon’s new EPX 86FR resin features 5% elongation at break, 90 MPa ultimate tensile strength, and a heat deflection temperature of 135°C, in addition to isotropic properties, smooth surface finish, and great retention of material properties during high-temperature aging, thermal shock, and temperature/humidity cycling. The resin can help lower tooling costs and development time for manufacturing tools, end-use parts, and functional prototypes that need self-extinguishing and flame-retardant features, like brackets, high-speed data connectors, and housings. Other applications include circuit board covers, fans, cable clips, automotive battery cases, fasteners, and covers.

Additionally, this flame-retardant resin was recently used to fabricate heat bath housings for highly regulated electronics devices by Astoria Pacific, which creates automated analysis solutions for laboratories.

“We encountered significant supply chain delays in sourcing PVC and sheet metal. We turned to Carbon’s platform and extensive material lineup, including EPX 86FR, to mitigate these challenges,” explained Whitney Menzel, Senior Engineer at Astoria Pacific. “Not only did we experience a much shorter production time frame using the flame-retardant resin–from 18 weeks through traditional methods to 2 weeks utilizing Carbon’s platform–but we also saw significant cost savings, enhanced surface finishes, reduced weight, and both thermal and mechanical advantages.”

EPX 86FR also has a high chemical resistance, showing little change in tensile properties, and no surface blemishes, after parts have been exposed to chemicals simulating contact per USCAR-2 conditions, and like Carbon’s other dual-cure resin materials, can be used to 3D print parts with high repeatability, accuracy, and surface quality.

This rigid sample kit includes a tow cap and battery case made from Carbon’s new EPX 86FR V0 flame-retardant material with unmatched toughness, strength and thermal stability.

Beginning this week, Carbon’s new flame-retardant material is available to ship in North America, Europe, and the UK. If you’re interested in testing this resin out before you purchase it, you can request a free sample kit, pictured above, or request a 3D printed test part from one of Carbon’s certified production partners.

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