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Fenner Drives, a 103-year-old company that specializes in the manufacture of tensioners, idler pulleys, chain sprockets, UHMW belt and chain guides, and more solutions for critical applications, put its engineering expertise in urethanes to work in the 3D printing industry. NinjaFlex, an innovative thermoplastic elastomer 3D printer filament, provides a super elastic, highly durable material that is catching on in the industry.

Clare Goldsberry

July 30, 2014

1 Min Read
NinjaFlex makes its mark in 3D printer materials market

Fenner Drives, a 103-year-old company that specializes in the manufacture of tensioners, idler pulleys, chain sprockets, UHMW belt and chain guides, and more solutions for critical applications, put its engineering expertise in urethanes to work in the 3D printing industry. NinjaFlex, an innovative thermoplastic elastomer 3D printer filament, provides a super elastic, highly durable material that is catching on in the industry.

The company launched NinjaFlex in October 2013, initially available in four colors: snow, fire, midnight and sapphire. Within months, the NinjaFlex line was expanded with the addition of five more colors: lava, flamingo, grass, sun and water (for semi-transparent applications).

NinjaFlex_3D_Shoe.jpegApplications for NinjaFlex filament ranges from bicycle handlebar grips to flexible wearables including shoes, to scientific applications such as the helmet liner used for an exoskeleton featured in a demonstration at the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony. To make the helmet which connected the user's brain to the exoskeleton, project engineers first 3D-scanned the patient's head. Partners at Colorado State University used LulzBot TAZ 3D printers to create a functional 3D model out of the flexible NinjaFlex filament.

NinjaFlex was featured at the RAPID show in Detroit in June, where the material got a lot of attention from attendees. "We were blown away by the number of NinjaFlex fans who stopped by our exhibit to share their creations and user stories," said Stan Kulikowski, applications engineer for Fenner Drives. 

NinjaFlex was being run at LulzBot's booth making tiny octopus figures to give out to attendees.

Fenner Drives has ISO 9001 certified manufacturing facilities in Manheim, PA and Wilmington, NC, and employs 5,200 worldwide. 

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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