5 new 3D Printers: In Short

Five new 3D printers with one breakthrough innovation and an interesting trend. This and more is covered in this episode of Todd Grimm’s In Short.


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5 new 3D Printers: In Short
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In this episode, you'll see new platforms with the motto (Bigger is Better.÷

Objet Ltd. (now Stratasys Ltd.)
Objet, now known as Stratasys, Ltd., introduced the massive Objet1000. This big boy boasts a build volume of 39 x 31 x 20 inches · that's 10 times the volume of its second biggest machine.

What I found interesting is that all of the promotion focuses on large parts made at a 1:1 scale. There was no mention of larger batches of parts, so it appears that big parts are in big demand.

For those new to 3D printing, the process is jetting · much like a 2D inkjet printer · but with photopolymers.

Although it doesn't carry the Connex name, Objet1000 has Connex capability. So, it prints with two materials that can be blended at the printhead to offer 123 Digital Material options.

Objet1000 will build big parts with the same resolution as the company's other 3D printers: 600 x 600 dpi and 0.0006- to 0.0012-inch layers.

It'll run the new rigid black material, VeroBlackPlus. According to the company, it has better dimensional stability and surface smoothness than its predecessor, VeroBlack.

On the Objet 1000 and all Connex machines, VeroBlackPlus is the base for 16 new Digital Materials. These variations range from polypropylene-like to flexible with Shore A values of 27 to 95.

 

SLM Solutions
On the direct metals front, SLM solutions introduced the SLM 500 HL with a bigger build volume · 20 x 11.0 x 13 inches. The company takes its name from the process, Selective Laser Melting (SLM).

Bigger builds can lead to long build times for laser-based metals processes. To counteract that, the SLM 500 HL delivers up to ten times the speed of similar processes. How, you ask? Well it's outfitted with two laser units, each with a 400 W and 1000 W laser, that operate in tandem. So there are four active lasers for each build. Another speed factor is multi-layer melting with the 1000 W lasers.

Two other features are: 1) swappable build chambers for less downtime and easier removal of all that heavy metal 2) a continuous material conveyance system for efficiency and convenience.

 

Concept Laser
Concept Laser also showed off a large direct-metal machine, the X Line 1000R, but the company notes that there is some more work to do before a commercial launch.

Concept Laser calls its process LaserCUSING, but it is very similar to the Selective Laser Melting process that SLM Solutions, and others, use.

The X Line 1000R boasts a 25 x 16 x 20-inch build volume... actually two of these large build chambers. Mounted on a turntable, the dual-chamber approach allows access to finished parts while building in the other chamber.

Fraunhofer ILT partnered with Concept Laser to make this machine to Daimler AB's specs. And Daimler already has its X Line 1000R up and running.

 

voxeljet technology
Voxeljet technology was the exception to the bigger-is-better trend, and oh what an exception it was.

It already has the largest machine, the VX4000, which has a 13-foot-long build chamber. Like all other voxeljet machines, including the two new ones, it jets a binder on a bed of powdered material, either PMMA plastic or sand.

What voxeljet released was the VXC800, the world's first continuous 3D printer. While it is building parts on the front end, finished parts or tools are coming out of the back. It is really ingenious · the VXC800 combines a horizontal conveyor belt with an angled material feed system and printing rails.

This is tough to get your head around so I'm showing a process video from the time when this machine was just a concept.

  • The working surface is that angled plane.
  • A feeder system spreads a fresh layer of power o