Objet350 Connex1
Kyle Maxey posted on November 16, 2015 |
Ideal for visual prototypes and short-run production

The Objet350 Connex1 3D Production System lets you combine two or three base resins in a single print job to simulate overmolding, generate multi-material tools and models, or produce trays of assorted parts. Parts can be put into use without assembly or post-processing.

The Objet350 Connex1 gives users access to Stratasys’ pioneering triple-jetting technology, with a larger build volume (13.4 in. x 13.4 in. x 7.9 in.) than the Objet260 line of printers. If you’re looking to create multi-material prototypes that resemble finished products, and the build volume meets your design requirements, you should consider the Objet350 Connex1.

With the Object 350 Connex1 you can fabricate your objects, prototypes or components from any 3 of the 14 available photopolymers — which do a more than convincing job of simulating rubber, polypropylene and standard manufacturing plastics.

How the Objet350 Connex1 Works

The triple-jetting or PolyJet technology works much like an inkjet printer. The only real difference between the two is that the Objet 350 Connex1 jets layers of liquid photopolymer onto a build tray, then UV light cures each layer one at a time. After all of the layers are finished, you are left with your physical 3D model or prototype. The model is fully cured, meaning there is absolutely no need for any post-curing hassles, so the 3D model is ready to use.

The Objet350 Connex1 allows you to turn your three base resins into a mixed tray of different 3D models or just one part with a large build volume. No assembly is required. If you need to uphold overhangs and support intricate geometries, the Objet350 Connex1 3D printer jets out a water-soluble support material, which can easily be washed away by hand.

If you are 3D printing multi-material jigs, fixtures and tools for short run production, you don’t have to attach any external labels to each part. You can track your parts with your choice of numbers and text that will be rendered directly onto each fabricated 3D model. With 16-micron layer resolution to play with in your design process, the Objet350 Connex1 enables some seriously high accuracy.

The Objet Studio software helps streamline the printing workflow in a few key ways. First, the software lets you easily import STL files from any CAD program and automatically slices files up into layers in preparation for 3D printing. The software also enables you to swiftly set up your trays with multiple models and materials, allowing you to test different designs of the same object at the same time, which is perfect for eliminating prototype designs.

With hot-swapping capabilities, you can easily replace empty cartridges with new ones without interrupting your build, making your workflow as smooth as the parts you are producing.

To sum it up in a sentence: the Objet350 Connex1 with triple-jetting technology gives you excellent throughput for multi-material 3D printing, 14 base materials to choose from, the ability to use up to three materials in a single build and allows you to hot swap cartridges for efficient workflow.

The Objet350 Connex1 in Action

Daniel Verde Hernández is a design engineer at Helvex, a Mexico-based manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom fixtures and furnishings. Prototyping is used throughout the product development process, as everything needs to be tested for aesthetics and functionality.

As the demand for prototypes increased, the company tried to produce some of their models with a relatively competitive 3D printer that they purchased. At the same time they grew increasingly reliant on a service bureau to produce more complex 3D models, though even that wasn’t working well enough.

“We could produce some functional prototypes, but it took a lot of work,” said Hernández. “Cleaning the models was time-consuming and difficult. The machine did not offer the level of precision we needed, and it left an uneven finish on curved surfaces.” In addition to encountering some problems with how well 3D printing services executed their prototype designs, outsourcing them ended up costing them a lot of time.

Helvex took it on himself to compare rapid prototyping technologies by testing out each one’s ability to produce a flushometer valve. Helvex chose the Objet350 Connex1, which outperformed every other option he had lined up. The print time was faster, the parts came out more precisely and well finished, and the materials were far more versatile.

“We tried functional prototypes with a combination of materials, and this has helped us a great deal with our parts,” said Hernández.

Since purchasing the Objet350 Connex1, Helvex has cut the amount of time it takes for them to produce prototypes by 30-40 percent overall. Simple functional prototypes now take 50 percent less time, while complex prototypes take 70-80 percent less time overall.

ABS 3D-printed faucet prototype after chrome plating.

The addition of the Objet350 Connex1 also reduced the amount of post-processing time required to finish parts. The 3D printer’s multi-material technology enabled Helvex to print prototypes with fine screw threads of 20 to 40 threads per inch, and was even capable of producing 5-40 UNC-2B and NPT thread, commonly used in gas and water pipes.

Completely functional prototype (including gaskets and nozzle), 3D printed with Objet rigid and flexible materials.

Consumer testing processes have sped up as a result of the high quality prototypes 3D printed from the Objet350 Connex1. Helvex generally prints with one material, the Digital ABS material. But sometimes — when it’s called for — they combine rigid and flexible materials to prototype faucets, nozzles and other bathroom fixtures. “The prototypes look good when they come out of the 3D printer, and they look even better with a paint post-process,” said Helvex Product Engineer Jonathan Blancas Sánchez.

Sánchez also mentioned how pleased the design team was with the automation and low-maintenance of the Objet350 Connex1. “The machine has inspired confidence in us because we can print at any time, even overnight. We wait for the printer to start printing, and we monitor it for just a few minutes. Then we can leave and come back the next day with full confidence that the parts will be ready,” he said.

Manufacturer: Stratasys

Model:Objet350 Connex1

Material: : Rigid opaque; rubber-like; transparent (RGD720); simulated polypropylene (Endur and Durus); biocompatible (MED610); high temperature (RGD525) Colors: VeroWhitePlus; VeroBlue; VeroBlackPlus; VeroGray; Tango family of colors; Endur grayscale

Build Envelope: 342 mm x 342 mm x 200 mm (13.4 in. x 13.4 in. x 7.9 in.)

Layer Thickness: Horizontal layers as fine as 16-microns (0.0006 in.)

Axis Resolution: X-axis: 600 dpi; Y-axis: 600 dpi; Z-axis: 1600 dpi

Printer Dimensions: 1400 mm x 1260 mm x 1100 mm (55.9 in. x 44.1 in. x 44.5 in.)

Printer Weight: 430 kg (948 lbs.)

Recommended Uses:Functional prototyping, visual prototyping, consumer products, jigs and fixtures, injection molds, production parts, manufacturing tools

Machine Price: $170,000–$200,000

Who Should Use the Objet350 Connex1:

Industrial design teams that need a larger build volume than the Objet260 series, medical professionals and tool, jig and fixture manufacturers.


Why Wouldn't You Use the Objet350 Connex1:

If you don’t need the build volume, or the capability to print in more than one material at a time, there are less expensive options available

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