Objet350 Connex3
Kyle Maxey posted on November 30, 2015 |

Stratasys’ Objet350 Connex3 is a mid-sized PolyJet printer that can be used for a wide variety of applications including functional prototypes, marketing, jig and fixtures and much more.

Similar to the company’s Connex2 models, the Connex3 employs triple-jetting technology to mix flexible and rigid bases to create Digital ABS materials with various properties. What sets the Connex3 line apart from previous models is its ability to jet user-defined color materials into a print.

With its expanded color palette, the Connex3 offers over 1000 Digital ABS materials. In addition, the system also supports:

• Two a simulated polypropylene materials (Durus and Endur), a high temperature material and bio-compatible material
• Two transparent materials (VeroClear and RGD720)
• A washable support material (SUP705)

Users can add an expanded material cabinet to the Connex3 to extend its operating time for larger print jobs. With a full material cabinet, jobs can be set on a Friday and left to print through the weekend without worry.

Given its size and audible print noise, the Connex3 should be used in its own work environment like a tool or machine shop. The printer does not produce any toxic or noxious odors.

How Objet350 Connex3 Works

The Objet350 Connex3 is a triple-jetting PolyJet 3D Printer that extrudes UV-curable liquid resin to create models.

To begin a print, the Connex3 establishes a multilayer platform of support material on the build platform. The initial support platform serves one critical purpose: it makes it easier to remove a model from the print bed once it’s complete.

The Connex3 then begins jetting the user-prescribed blend of liquid resin to build the model layer by layer. Once the print head jets its resin, a UV-curing lamp (built into the print head mechanism) fixes the liquid in place moments later. If support structures are needed to maintain overhangs, undercuts or other voids it will also be laid down during these build passes. This process continues until the model is complete.

Completed models can be scraped from the Connex3’s build plate and moved to a high-pressure water jet cabinet where their support material can be removed. The support structure can typically be removed in minutes, making post processing relatively quick and easy.

According to Stratasys, with its 14 material base options, up to 82 materials can be built into a single print. To add more than one digital material, CAD models will have to be split using a 0.001-inch gap that signifies the boundary/beginning for a new material.

Because the Connex3 supports such a wide array of colors and material properties, additional post processing like painting can be eliminated. Thanks to that feature the Connex3 has one of the quickest “print-to-processed” times in the 3D printing industry.

The Objet350 Connex3 in Action

Trek Bicycle Corporation has been doing pioneering bicycle design work for the last 39 years. Whether they’re pushing the boundaries of carbon-fiber frames, or slashing weight from forks, Trek’s designers are always looking for ways to improve their product. And why wouldn’t they, they’re the first who get to ride them!

Because of their passion for cycling, Trek engineers are always looking to test their designs using cutting edge technology. Sticking to that mantra, the Trek prototyping team was among the first to get their hands on a Connex3.

But why did they want a Connex3?

Mike Zeigle, manager of Trek’s prototype development group, put it plainly. “It’s important for our prototype parts to look and feel like production parts,” he said.

Realistic prototype parts gave the Trek design team better feedback about the tactile impact their components would have on a rider’s body. That kind of feedback just isn’t possible with FDM technology. What’s more, no other technology allows Trek’s engineers to build a multi-material print in a single job. That ability allows Trek’s engineers to iterate quickly and push their designs even further.

Beyond building lifelike parts, Trek also uses the Connex3’s color palette to translate their FEA analysis into tangible models that designers can use to improve bike components. According to engineering tech Guadalupe Ollarzabal, “Most people think they just sit on the whole bike seat, but there’s more pressure on certain parts than others. This shows the pressure points so designers can make decisions, like where to put high-density foam.”

With tangible 3D FEA results, Trek’s team can gain clearer insight into their products in ways that aren’t otherwise possible. The real world inspection that these prototypes allow gives designers better insights into how to build their products.

Manufacturer: Stratasys

Model: Objet350 Connex3

Material: Vero (Rigid); Tango (Flexible); Medical: MED610; DigitalABS and Digital ABS2 in ivory and green; DurusWhite RGD430; High Temperature RGD525 white; Transparent: VeroClear and RGD720

Build Envelope: 340 mm × 340 mm × 200 mm (13.4 in. × 13.4 in. × 7.9 in.)

Layer Thickness: 0.016 mm (0.0006 in.)

Printer Dimensions: 1400 mm x 1260 mm x 1100 mm (55.1 in. x 49.6 in. x 43.3 in.)

Printer Weight: 430 kg (948 lbs.)

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

Machine Price: $270,000- $280,000

Who Should Use the Objet350 Connex3:

The Objet350 Connex3 is an excellent machine for anyone looking to make compelling models for marketing, fit and function and even short-run injection molds.

With its ability to print in color, the Connex3 can reduce post-processing times.

 

Why Wouldn't You Use the Objet350 Connex3:

The Connex3 might not be the most ideal choice for those who don’t require their prints to be colored. In that case a Connex2 system would produce the same quality results at a lower price.

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