Thomas Batigne discusses the use of Lynxter in silicone 3D printing during the interview.


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Silicone has long been recognized for its desirable characteristics in the manufacturing industry. Its high heat resistance, biocompatibility, and sealing properties make it a versatile material with many applications in various sectors. However, despite its numerous advantages, the use of silicone in additive manufacturing has not been as widespread as one might expect. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Thomas Batigne, the Co-founder and President of Lynxter, a company that is revolutionizing silicone 3D printing and addressing the technical challenges associated with it.

Lynxter’s journey began when Airbus discovered a 3D printing system developed by Batigne and his team at an entrepreneurship contest. This led to further interest from companies like Total and Schneider Electric, with many customers expressing a particular interest in Lynxter’s silicone 3D printing capabilities. This prompted the development of the Lynxter S300X 3D printer, specifically designed for silicone and polyurethane materials.

Batigne explained how Lynxter’s expansion from delta-style to IDEX systems was driven by the desire to improve calibration, reduce costs, and make the machine more versatile. He used the analogy of buying a camera and only using one lens, emphasizing the importance of providing users with the freedom to design and print whatever they want, just as they can with thermoplastic 3D printers.

The process of 3D printing with silicone differs from that of thermoplastics. While regular 3D printing can use a single nozzle for both the primary material and support, silicone printing requires a different approach due to its inherent cohesion. To address this challenge, Lynxter developed a gel support that works in harmony with the silicone. The S300X printer has two tool heads, one for printing the component and the other for producing the water-soluble supports required.

When discussing the rheological properties of silicone and their influence on the structures being printed, Batigne highlighted the importance of achieving the right viscosity. This not only affects printability but also the material’s resistance to UV and elasticity. Lynxter’s advantage lies in their use of PCP pumps, which can handle highly viscous materials that are difficult to pour or jet.

One of Lynxter’s key focuses is the healthcare industry, where they aim to address the limitations of current 3D printers. Batigne emphasized the issues with photo-activated resins in terms of elasticity, durability, and UV aging, which silicone 3D printing can effectively overcome. High resolution is crucial in medical device manufacturing, and while there are limitations to material extrusion processes, Lynxter ensures that their printer’s resolution meets industrial standards.

Of course, with innovation comes its fair share of challenges. Batigne discussed the difficulties associated with printing fine structures in silicone. To overcome this, Lynxter uses intelligent XY supports, which maximize print fidelity even in intricate designs.

Lynxter’s approach to silicone 3D printing is truly revolutionary. By focusing on chemistry and maintaining the integrity and properties of the materials they use, they ensure that their products are not mere imitations. Their dedication to the healthcare industry and the resolution capabilities of their printer make them a leading player in the market.

Overall, the possibilities and opportunities for silicone 3D printing are vast, and Lynxter is at the forefront of unlocking its full potential. With their innovative solutions and commitment to addressing industry challenges, they are paving the way for a more widespread adoption of silicone in additive manufacturing.

**Silicone 3D Printing: A Game-Changer in Additive Manufacturing**

In the world of additive manufacturing, there is a new player on the scene – silicone 3D printing. This innovative technology is revolutionizing the way we create objects, offering a range of benefits and applications that are garnering attention from industries far and wide.

One of the key strengths of the silicone 3D printing process is its minimal post-processing requirements. Unlike other materials, such as plastics, silicone does not require any pretreatment before printing. The material simply cures at room temperature, eliminating the need for additional steps in the manufacturing process. Additionally, external heat treatments or surface varnishes can be applied to further enhance the end product, making it smoother and more aesthetically appealing.

One of the exciting applications of silicone 3D printing is in the field of surface treatments. Traditionally, masking – the process of shielding a part of an object from treatment – has been labor-intensive and time-consuming. However, with the advent of 3D printed silicone caps, this process is revolutionized. These caps can be specifically designed to fit the geometry of the object, and applying them is as simple as putting a lid on a bottle. This not only saves time and effort but also improves the overall efficiency of the surface treatment process.

Another significant development in the silicone 3D printing sector is the ability to mix silicone with other materials. Lynxter, a leading player in this field, has been experimenting with combining silicone with conductive ink, thermoplastics, and hydrogels. This blending of technologies opens up a whole new range of possibilities, including the creation of soft robots that mimic human touch. Furthermore, silicone’s biocompatibility makes it an ideal choice for medical applications, such as printing tailor-made masks for burn victims or cooling devices for cancer treatments.

The market potential for silicone in 3D printing is substantial. While thermoplastics currently dominate the additive manufacturing market with an estimated global value of $31 billion, silicone is not far behind at $20 billion. This presents a significant opportunity for companies like Lynxter, who are at the forefront of silicone 3D printing technology. With their expansive market share and unmatched offerings, Lynxter is well-positioned to capitalize on this emerging market.

Looking to the future, Lynxter has exciting plans in the pipeline. They are collaborating with Synthene, one of the largest polyurethane manufacturers in France, to develop automotive-grade polyurethane. This partnership holds great promise for new product releases and software upgrades that will further solidify Lynxter’s position as a leader in silicone 3D printing.

In conclusion, silicone 3D printing is a game-changer in additive manufacturing. Its minimal post-processing requirements, versatile applications, and market potential make it a highly sought-after technology. With companies like Lynxter leading the way, silicone 3D printing is set to revolutionize industries and open up a world of possibilities. Learn more about silicone 3D printing and Lynxter’s groundbreaking work in this field [here](link to website).

*Featured image: Lynxter silicone 3D printing.*

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GCode-Guru

Meet the mastermind behind NozzleNerds.com: GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.

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