Lean on PVA, When You Need Support

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Many of us wish our worldly worries could just dissolve away, but it never seems to work that way. Though if it’s about support structures for large-scale 3D objects, then BigRep’s PVA is the cure for all concerns.

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is commonly used in industrial 3D printers with dual-extruders, like the BigRep ONE, to provide support for an object with overhang issues. Some complex prints involving multiple extended overhangs (of over 45°) can only be performed by printing such a support structure. Otherwise, the printed structure would warp or simply collapse – nobody likes that.

BigRep PVA is unlike any other 3D printing filament on the market. It is non-toxic, odorless and easy to extrude, as well as being water soluble. The warmer the water, the faster it dissolves, so users can spend more time creating those tortuous prints and less time refining the results. Moreover, it has been optimized for improved melt flow characteristics, meaning users need not spend their precious time unclogging the hot end. A new video by BigRep shows how easy the process can be, as well as the quality prints resulting from PVA integration.

Wheel Rim

For complex geometries, PVA can be the ideal support structure to enable printing of angles over 45 degrees. Designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori, this 3D-printed wheel rim challenges aesthetic norms for such vehicle parts. The intertwining braces are designed such that they would not be possible with CNC and other traditional methods of milling a wheel rim. Furthermore, for Cristofori’s design, there was no need for manual post-printing curing, sanding, or grinding, thanks to the PVA support – it melts right off the final print.

3D Printed wheel rim

BigRep Longboard

3D printed on the BigRep STUDIO, this BigRep bionic longboard is a model of structural integrity and fascinating aesthetics. It was printed using BigRep PLA with PVA support and integrated carbon pipe, as designed by Beatrice Müller. Once the print had been soaked in water for 20 minutes, BigRep’s team was able to use a soft spatula-type implement to begin scraping the residue off the print.

Longboard

While BigRep already sells a range of high-quality, meticulously engineered 3D printing filaments through its online shop, there is always room for consultation on additional materials. When customers are looking for a specific kind of filament for a custom application, BigRep’s team is pleased to take on the challenge – read more about collaborations between BigRep and Deutsche Bahn, Etihad Airways Engineering and BASF.

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