Impossible Objects claims CBAM 25 is the world’s fastest carbon fiber 3D printer

Demonstration at RAPID + TCT 2024 sees additive parts produced in 15 seconds.

There are many proposed explanations for 3D printing’s relatively slow rate of adoption: lack of awareness and education, insufficient standardization, or even macroeconomic factors like interest rates.

But for Jeff DeGrange, chief commercial officer at Impossible Objects, the explanation is much simpler. “From our viewpoint, the biggest barrier preventing 3D printing from breaking into the heartland of manufacturing is speed,” he said in a press conference at RAPID + TCT 2024. “If you want to keep up with an assembly line, you need to make quality parts fast.”

Impossible Objects’ answer to this challenge is the CBAM 25, which was announced at last year’s RAPID and demonstrated this year. The acronym stands for Composite Based Additive Manufacturing, a process developed by the company’s founder, Bob Schwartz. According to the company, CBAM is capable of producing finished parts in 15 seconds, which would make it the fastest carbon fiber 3D printer in the world.

Here’s how it works:

CBAM uses a web of carbon fiber substrate as its feedstock. After depositing an aqueous fluid in the shape of each 50-micron layer of a part onto the substrate, the printer floods the web with a polymer powder, which sticks to the fluid depositions. While the machine prints continuously at a rate of 25 feet per minute, the web is cut into individual sheets, which are then stacked. Once the printing process is complete, the stack is compressed and heated to the polymer’s melting point. This results in the particles melting to encase the carbon fibers and fuse the sheets into a solid part. As a final step, an automated sandblaster removes the uncoated fibers, leaving the finished parts.

One of the highlighted applications of CBAM was tooling, particularly in fixtures for the electronics industry. DeGrange showed off a particular part during the press conference, which he said had been through over 6,000 cycles of heating, cooling, and cleaning without showing signs of wear. “Tooling, jigs and fixtures are a great application because our materials have the strength and weight of aluminum but much lower thermal conductivity,” he said.

Asked about the specific carbon fiber content of the parts, DeGrange said the typical proportion is around 17%, significantly lower than laid-up composites, which are usually closer to 45 or 50%. “But we’re still much stronger than FDM or SLS composites,” he added. “And we’re working on developing uniaxial long fibers in our R&D through a grant from the Air Force.” Besides carbon fiber, the CBAM 25 is compatible with PEEK, fiberglass and PA 12.

One notable restriction on the CBAM process is part height, which is limited to a maximum of four inches due to the compression process. DeGrange was quick to point out, however, that there’s no in-principle reason the stack couldn’t be bigger. “Our sense is that four inches will let you do a lot of parts in this space.”

Written by

Ian Wright

Ian is a senior editor at, covering additive manufacturing and 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing. Ian holds bachelors and masters degrees in philosophy from McMaster University and spent six years pursuing a doctoral degree at York University before withdrawing in good standing.