Shapeways, one of the biggest names in 3D printing, is adding a new squishy plastic material called Elasto Plastics to its available printing options. This new material offers some interesting applications for anything wearable, specifically for sandals and other kinds of footwear.
The material is off-white in color, and quite a bit more flexible than most other printable materials. Shapeways says that it has a "rough, grainy finish." It is also claimed to be quite strong, as long as it's printed with features greater than 5 mm in thickness.
Because of the experimental nature of this new material, it is only available for uploaded designs. This means that items in the Shapeways store will not be available in Elasto Plastics, at least not for the time being. The company plans to test the material until July 9th, at which time it will decide if it wishes to keep it around as design material.
Should this material be successful, it will open up a ton of options for 3D printers that could not be possible with hard plastics. It will take some creative designers to see if this material is worth using, but when they do, 3D printing could change for the better.