Objet500 Connex3
Kyle Maxey posted on January 20, 2016 |
The Objet500 Connex3 is a multi-color printer that can blend rigid and rubber-like materials into a ...

The Objet500 Connex3 is a multi-color printer that can blend rigid and rubber-like materials into a single print. It's based on the Stratasys Connex technology that delivers quality prototypes with as many as 46 colors in a single print. This multi-material 3D printer handles a range of material properties from rubber to rigid, transparent to opaque, neutral to brightly colored and standard to biocompatible. This range of mechanical, optical or thermal properties lets the Objet500 Connex3 produce up to 82 materials in a single build. It is well suited for prototyping consumer goods.

How Does the Objet500 Connex3 Work?

The Objet500 Connex3 produces parts by combining materials inside the 3D printer to create a variety of composite materials. While previous Objet printers have used two materials as their base, the Connex3 system adds a third material that adds color and more material options to the mix.M

With 10 separate color palettes, the Connex3 can combine its Vero (rigid) line of materials with a variety of colors to create vibrant, rigid prints or its Tango (flexible) line of materials to create a range of Shore A values.

Similar to all Objet models, all Connex3 materials are UV curable to prevent adverse crazing and model deformation. All builds can be supported with a non-toxic material that is washed away with a water jet.

To create a print, the Connex3 deposits consecutive layers of UV curable resins onto its print bed. Immediately following the deposit of material, a UV light attached to the machine's print head passes over the material to cure the model. This process is repeated until the desired model is created.

Like all Objet machines, the Connex3 creates very accurate parts with exceptional detail. However, because the system uses a liquid resin, keeping the machines print head clean is an absolute must.

With a large palette of colors the Objet500 Connex3 can bring models to life and allow designers, customers and product managers to accurately see how a finished product will look and feel. The Connex3 can print massive objects without supervision or exchanging material in the middle of a print thanks to its expanded material reservoir. Additionally, although the Objet500 Connex3 does allow for multiple colors to be printed in a single model, adding colors to a print can be a time consuming task. To add multiple colors to a build, users have to divide their model into separate sections with a single color assigned to each segment, though recent software developments are simplifying this process. Once split, the model can be imported into Stratasys' print management software where colors can be assigned to each section.

Even with these additional steps, we expect the Objet500 Connex3 to be at the top of the wish list for consumer product development teams.

The Connex3 System at Trek Bicycle

According to Mike Zeigle, manager of the prototype development group at Trek Bicycle Corporation, "The Connex3 has dramatically reduced the company's lead-time for product prototyping. Trek's engineers used to wait in a two-week long queue for design revisions.” With the new Connex3s and its expanded materials, parts can be printed both day and night.

Additionally, the Connex3's color printing technology has given Trek's engineers the ability to organize design revisions by color. By creating a color-coded revision history engineers can quickly look back through a product's design history to makes sense of even the subtlest changes.

According to Guadalupe Ollarzabal, Trek's engineering technician, ordering replacement materials and scheduling maintenance for the company's Connex3 system is relatively easy given the large number of Stratasys product suppliers.

Manufacturer: Stratasys

Model: Objet500 Connex3

Material: : Rigid Opaque: VeroWhitePlus, VeroBlackPlus, VeroGray, VeroBlue, VeroCyan, VeroMagenta, VeroYellow; rubber-like: TangoPlus, TangoBlackPlus, TangoBlack, TangoGray; transparent: VeroClear and RGD720; simulated polypropylene: Endur and Durus; high temperature bio-compatible; Digital ABS and Digital ABS2 in ivory and green. Hundreds of vibrant, repeatable colors in opaque and translucent rubber-like blends in a range of Shore A values and color, polypropylene materials with improved heat resistance.

Color: 46 Colors

Build Envelope: 490 mm x 390 mm x 200 mm (19.3 in. x 15.4 in. x 7.9 in.)

Layer Thickness: Horizontal build layers down to 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 (55.1 in. x 49.6 in. x 43.3 in.)

Printer Weight: 430 kg (948 lbs.)

Material Cabinet Dimensions:330 mm (w) x 1170 mm (h) x 640 (d) mm (13 in. x 46.1 in. x 26.2 in.)

Material Cabinet Weight:76 Kg (168 lbs.)

Recommended Uses:Prototyping, physical FEA reviews, hands-on product performance reviews, jigs and fixtures, end-use parts, injection molding

Primary Industries:Consumer goods designers, medical, automotive

Machine Price: $350,000- $400,000

Who Should Use the Objet500 Connex3 :

The Objet500 Connex3 system is best suited for consumer product designers who need hands-on rapid prototyping for product design reviews and customer input sessions.

"Prototyping has become part of the design process, and that's even more true now with the Connex3" says Zeigle. "If you don't prototype it can lead to problems down the line." Rather than having to rely on a single material to tell the story of a multi-material product, the Connex3 allows designers to blend rigid, rubber-like, clear and opaque materials into a single print.


Why Wouldn't You Use the Objet500 Connex3 :

While the Objet500 Connex3 is an excellent system for creating full-color prototypes, realistic product demonstrations and some one-of-a-kind parts, its large size might make it less than ideal for smaller office settings.

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