Aug. 9, 2019
OBC 3D printing filament is a breakthrough 3D printing material from the chemists at Dow Chemical. Designed for high-performance 3D printing, OBC is made from a unique polyethylene-based blend that brings polyolefin material properties to 3D printing. By blending these two together, not only does it have excellent dimensional stability and superior chemical resistance, it incredibly easy to print and its lightweight. Step into a new world of expanded capabilities for 3D printing materials with OBC.
OBC stands for Olefin Block Copolymer, which is an unusual material within the world of 3D printing. It’s a proprietary blend of plastics that makes OBC easy to print and grants it some chemical resistance and flexibility. This blend has very low density without sacrificing strength and toughness. Density gets tricky when it comes to filament that’s available by weight, and in OBC’s case, it means that 100 meters of filament will weigh 30% less than 100 meters of PLA or PETG filaments. OBC has a density of 0.9 grams per cubic centimeter whereas PLA has a density of 1.2 grams per cubic centimeter. That means that a 350 gram spool will print as many parts as a 500 gram spool of PLA or PETG - despite their different weights, they both have around 320 meters of material on the spool. What this all means is that parts 3D printed in OBC will float on water without even trying.
OBC has a low flexural modulus which means OBC offers flexibility that other filaments just can't match. Its extreme fatigue resistance allows you to print things like living hinges that can be repeatedly exercised back and forth without fatigue. OBC’s mechanical properties can be tuned through specific design applications - that is: flexible when thin but can be stiff when printing thicker cross sectional area parts. In the end, OBC’s uniqueness as a material is that functional parts can be designed with sections that are tough and rigid, but have a flip closed lid that’s all part of the same 3D print.
OBC is easy to print and requires very little fine tuning with your printer. It is one of a few flexible 3D printing materials that is approachable to inexperienced users. Where other materials can buckle in the printer’s extruder, as a filament this material is rigid enough to be easily extruded by basically any extruder type. Though easy to print, it still boasts breakthrough features that only Dow Chemical could design.
Where a chemically resistant material is needed for a 3D print or a living hinge that can be used over and over, OBC is the filament of choice. For example, the similar polyethylene can be found in products like milk jugs and cutting boards, which are rigid even at their thinnest point, and polypropylene, another comparable material, is used in contact cases and food storage containers which are flexible and can snap shut over and over without fatiguing.
Printing temperatures for OBC are lower than might be expected. Depending on the specific printer setup, ideal temperature is anywhere between 160°C and 200°C and 60°C and 100°C for the bed. This means that most printers out there are capable of printing this material, with the temperature of the bed being the limiting factor in some cases; some printers can’t reach 100°C but can get close enough to work. An important thing to note is that OBC is very specific when it comes to bed adhesion. Where other filaments work well with a variety of adhesives, OBC will only work with packaging tape, specifically polypropylene packaging tape. Once it is applied to the 3D printer’s bed surface, prints will stick exceptionally well.
With its diverse set of properties, OBC is a magical filament with many different use-cases, and coming from Dow Chemical you can trust they’ve done their research into creating the ideal material for 3D printing filament that’s easy to print and can be stiff or flexible based on the design. OBC is available in several colors in both 1.75mm and 3mm diameters so you can get printing right away. To order your spool today, check out the collection: here.
Get The Latest From MatterHackers
Please enter a valid email.