In Short #4 - New 3D Printer Releases

In this episode of In Short, Todd Grimm covers three 3D printer announcements from Stratasys and 3D Systems. Get the highlights on Mojo, ZPrinter 850 and ProJet 3500.

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In this episode of In Short, Todd Grimm covers three 3D printer announcements from Stratasys and 3D Systems. Get the highlights on Mojo, ZPrinter 850 and ProJet 3500.

This is a busy time of the year for new technologies and new system announcements made in conjunction with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' (SME) RAPID 2012 conference and exhibition. This is the event for 3D printing and 3D scanning.

It was another good year for this event. There were two and one- half days of great presentations and exciting information. There was so much news that it will be split over three episodes of In Short. In this episode, we will cover new systems that were announced just prior to but debuted at RAPID.

In late April and early May, 3D Systems and Stratasys announced one new product family and two new systems: , ProJet 3500 product line, ZPrinter 850 and Mojo.

ZPrinter 850
This is the first new system from 3D Systems since its December acquisition of Z Corporation. The ZPrinter 850 uses the same process as all others in the ZPrinter line · jetting a binder onto a powder bed. What the ZPrinter 850 offers is a bigger build envelope while maintaining the two traits that distinguish ZPrinters from all others · build speed and color. The ZPrinter 850 has a build volume of 20 X 15 X 9 inches. That is two and one-half times the XY area of the ZPrinter 650, which was the largest system until now.

Like the ZPrinter 650, it prints objects in full color (390,000-color palette) and at a resolution of 600 x 540 dpi. Layer thickness is 0.004 inch. Both systems use five print heads for a total of 1520 jets.

Since those five heads have to cover a larger area, the ZPrinter 850 will have a build speed that is one-quarter to one-half that of the ZPrinter 650. But this is still a very respectable 0.2 to 0.6 vertical inch per hour. One other difference from the ZPrinter 650 is that the ZPrinter 850's depowdering unit is a separate accessory rather than an integrated component of the system.

According to one reseller's website, this system has a base price of $93,000.

ProJet 3500
One day after the introduction of the ZPrinter 850, 3D Systems announced the replacement of its ProJet 3000 product line with the ProJet 3500 series, which includes eight systems that run nine materials.

This lineup uses 3D Systems' Multi-Jet Modeling (MJM) technology, which jets a combination of photo-curable plastic and wax. With some systems, the outputs are plastic parts; with others, wax patterns for investment casting.

3D Systems has three sub-categories for the ProJet 3500, each with a different application in mind. First, there are the ProJet SD 3500, HD 3500 and HD 3500Plus · these are for industrial product development applications. Second, the ProJet CP 3500, CPX 3500 and CPX 3500Plus · these make wax patterns for investment casting. The third category targets medical and dental applications with the ProJet DP 3500 and MP 3500.

What varies amongst these systems are the materials used and the available resolution. For example, the ProJet SD 3500 uses the plastic materials and offers a 375 X 375 dpi resolution with 0.0013-inch layers. The ProJet HD 3500Plus uses the same materials but offers resolutions up to 750 X 750 dpi with 0.0006