Objet500 Connex2
Kyle Maxey posted on January 04, 2016 |
The Objet500 Connex2 gives designers more material options.

The Objet500 Connex2 expands the material portfolio that’s present in the Connex1 system and carries a price tag that fits in between the Connex1 and Connex3. Aside from its material processing capabilities and cost, the Objet500 Connex2 is identical to the other machines in its line. The Objet500 Connex2 has the same build volume, machine size, layer resolution and recommended uses as its fellow 500 systems.

The Objet500 Connex2 uses 14 base materials to create 140 digital materials. In addition, the Objet500 Connex2 also has the ability to hot swap material cartridges, making it possible to create new blends of materials mid-print.

Like other Connex systems, the Connex2 prints models at a 16-micron resolution. With such a high resolution the Objet500 Connex2 can produce visually stunning marketing materials, models suited for fit and function testing, and even short run injection molds.

How the Objet500 Connex2 Works

The Objet500 Connex2 builds multi-material models from UV-curable liquid resin using Stratasys’ PolyJet technology. According to Stratasys, with its 14 material base options, up to 27 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.

At the outset of a print the Objet500 Connex2 establishes a multilayer support base on the machine’s build platform. That support base is important as it makes a model easier to remove from the print bed once a build is complete.

The Objet500 Connex2 begins building models by extruding liquid resin from its triple-jetting print head. With its three heads the Connex2 can mix two materials together to create a third digital material that blends the properties of its two bases (the third head is reserved for support material). After a material layer has been put down, a UV lamp built into the print head cures it. The curing process happens nearly instantly, ensuring that a model’s geometry is accurate. If support structures are needed to back up overhangs, undercuts or other voids the triple-jetting head can deposit water-soluble support materials wherever it’s needed.

This process of switching between model and support material continues layer by layer until a build is complete.

To complete the modeling process, a Connex2 prototype has to be scraped from the machine’s build platform and its support material needs to be removed. To remove material the model has to be moved to a high-pressure water-jet cabinet where its water-soluble support can be washed away.

The Objet500 Connex2 in Action

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) exists in a world of fierce, fast competition. To make sure they stay competitive, the company’s R&D labs are constantly churning out prototypes. In fact, because of its need to rapidly advance product improvements JLR has been working with 3D printers for a while. But what struck JLR engineers was that regardless of whether they were using SLA, FDM or laser sintering machines they’re models had one fatal flaw — they built prototypes using only one material.

In reality, this single material paradigm was creating a twofold problem for the JLR team.

Not only were single material prints causing JLR engineers to use multiple machines to prototype a part, once those prints were done they had to be post-processed. Add to that the need to use other off the shelf components and you can see that their machines were constantly tapping the brakes on innovation.

After doing a bit of research, JLR engineers discovered the Objet500 Connex2 and were impressed with its multi-material capabilities. Quickly thereafter a Connex was running in their lab. To the surprise of the engineers not only did the Objet500 Connex2 build high-quality models with multiple materials, it could also build single material parts with incredible speed and precision. For engineers this meant an increase in productivity. With a large build volume entire component systems could be built piece by piece, from multiple materials, in a single build. PolyJet prototyping at JLR took off.

While JLR still employs a number of other 3D printing technologies, their Objet500 Connex2 has taken over a large portion of their prototyping operation. In fact, according to one estimate, the Objet500 Connex2 now accounts from more than one third of the prototype production. With the ability to process multiple materials in either a single print or across an entire job, the Objet500 Connex2 is a valuable machine for any high-paced, high-output prototyping operation.

Manufacturer: Stratasys

Model: Objet500 Connex2

Material: : Rigid Opaque (Vero family); Flexible (Tango family); Transparent (RGD720 and VeroClear); Simulated Polypropylene (Endur & Durus); Bio-compatible (MED610); High Temperature (RGD525); Digital ABS and Digital ABS2, wide range of translucencies, rubber-like blends in a range of Shore A values, simulated polypropylene materials with improved heat resistance

Build Envelope: 490 mm x 390 mm x 200 mm (19.3 in. x 15.4 in. x 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: Jigs and fixtures, injection molds, production parts; manufacturing tools; marketing

Machine Price: $290,000- $300,000

Who Should Use the Objet500 Connex2 :

The Connex2 offers more ability than the Connex1 but skips the maximum color abilities of the Connex3. If you’re not looking for maximum color printing, but want the high-resolution of a Connex system, the Connex2 is a great blend of price and ability.

The Objet500 Connex2 is an ideal system for anyone looking to create large functional prototypes, marketing materials and short run injection molds.


Why Wouldn't You Use the Objet500 Connex2 :

The Connex2 is positioned as a machine that balances price and ability. If you’re looking for color printing then the Connex2 isn’t your machine. Choose the Connex3.

Individuals looking for a cheap 3D printer will need to look elsewhere. The Connex2 is a more advanced, high-capacity machine and is therefore priced for professional use.

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