Is distributed manufacturing with flexible 3D printing filament worth it? Michigan Tech finds out

Researchers from Michigan Technological University have conducted a study into the cost of 3D printing consumer goods using flexible filament. The researchers 3D printed 20 flexible products in NinjaFlex filament, analyzing the overall cost and technical feasibility of the 3D printed items.

Flexible filaments have opened up a world of opportunities for 3D printer users. Once faced with the prospect of brittle and breakable 3D printed parts, makers can now easily make rubbery 3D printed items for a range of practical applications: mechanical parts, soft grips, and even the tires of an RC car.

But are objects made from flexible 3D printing filaments as good as their molded, off-the-shelf counterparts? Moreover, are they worth the cost? Those are two questions that intrigued Aubrey L. Woern and Joshua M. Pearce, two researchers at Michigan Technological University who recently carried out a study into the effectiveness of functional objects made from flexible filament.

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