The Form 3 and Form 3L emerged this week, introducing new capabilities to Formlabs’ popular SLA offerings. Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) makes its debut with these new machines, set to enhance reliability and print quality. The Form 3 looks pretty familiar, and stands as a solid follow-up to the Form 2. The Form 3L takes its “L” very seriously, though, as Formlabs goes large-format. At 200 x 335 x 300 mm, the 3L offers a whopping 5x build volume compared to either the Form 3 or Form 2. The Form 2 remains available, now discounted $500 from previous pricing. The Form 3 starts at $3,499 ($5,999 including the Form Cure and Form Wash), while the Form 3L will ship starting in Q4 priced at $9,999.
Because two highly-anticipated new 3D printers aren’t enough, Formlabs also introduced its Draft Resin. The new resin can print at a larger layer size (300 microns), ready to speed up the prototyping process.
Stratasys had major announcements this week in its FDM and PolyJet portfolios, as well as its official entry into SLA; Stratasys Direct also brings more in metal into play.
The F123 line of FDM 3D printers was introduced last year at SOLIDWORKS World. Adding on to the line at AMUG is the newest FDM machine from Stratasys, the F120. The entry-level F120 is designed for ease of use and repeatability. “Entry-level” for this professional line means a price tag of $11,999 in the US. The 3D printer is targeted toward designers, engineers, and educators with plug-and-print workflow and GrabCAD Print capabilities. Two large filament boxes are included to increase uptime — up to 250 hours of uninterrupted 3D printing. The company is taking orders now and targeting July delivery.
“While many analysts report the entry-level 3D printing segment has grown significantly, we note organizations struggle with building production-level models on the first or second try – at the reliability and repeatability of high-end systems. This puts smaller designers and academic institutions at a significant disadvantage. The Stratasys F120 printer meets the needs of customers, providing engineering and design groups with highly productive part printing – whether they’re across the hall or around the globe,” said Omer Krieger, EVP Products, Stratasys.
Stratasys: V650 Flex
Stratasys steps into stereolithography with its first commercially available SLA 3D printer, the V650 Flex. The company has long experience with this technology and has been offering it through Stratasys Direct for some time. Now Stratasys is launching the 3D printer it developed for in-house use directly to customers. The V650 Flex marks another notable departure from established strategies: It’s open materials. Stratasys is launching the machine with a partner with DSM, with four popular Somos materials — Somos Element, Somos NeXt, Somos PerFORM, and Somos Watershed XC 11122 — validated for use on the platform. But even as more DSM materials get the V650 green light, users are welcome to use their preferred resins. The new system has a 20” x 20” x 23” build volume and interchangeable vats. The system has been well tested, with more than 150,000 parts made for Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. Pricing has not yet been announced, but the system is available now for order.
“While stereolithography is one of the original 3D printing processes – mainly used to create master patterns or large concept models quickly and accurately – customers have been challenged by restricted systems that can’t be configured and materials at a high cost-per-part,” said Omer Krieger, EVP Products, Stratasys. “The V650 Flex is the result of customer demand around the world wanting a better solution – fully configurable to match the specific application and use-case. The solution is truly one of the first large-scale systems for creating reliable, high-quality parts across design concepts, validation, investment casting, tooling, and injection molding.”
Printing in Pantone Colors
On the PolyJet side, color-matching steps forward as Stratasys announces that it has been designated as Pantone Validated for the J750 and J735. Pantone is well-known in professional color standards, as brands and designers are acutely aware of their exact shades. Color in 3D printing has largely been controlled by specified filaments or post-processing, but with these systems’ ability to mix colors, control becomes even finer right at the source. Pantone functionality should be live in GrabCAD Print by July.
“Designers work hard to build realistic prototypes in ways that speed design, build and development cycles. Unfortunately, typical approaches of manually painting each and every model is time consuming,” said Hadas Schragenheim, Rapid Prototyping Manager, Stratasys. “Our agreement with Pantone sets the stage for a revolution in design and prototype processes. As the industry’s first 3D printers officially ‘PANTONE Validated,’ we’re allowing designers to build realistic prototypes faster than ever before – shrinking design-to-prototype and accelerating product time-to-market.”
Printing Metal with VELO3D
Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is opening more options in metals, now offering VELO3D’s Sapphire 3D printing powered by Flow software. VELO3D offers precise control in its laser fusion metal system, with in-situ metrology, closed-loop control, and lessened requirements for support structures.
“The Sapphire system from VELO3D is an important part of advancing our capabilities to include using additive metals in applications and geometries previously challenging to 3D print,” said Kent Firestone, CEO of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. “This is a natural step in building our service portfolio, and we are excited to take on projects with more complexity to drive further adoption of serialized production additive manufacturing and push the boundaries of 3D metal printing.”
New 3D printers announced this week bring more industry focus to established companies.
Italy-based Sharebot has introduced its first metal 3D printer, the MetalONE. With work tracing back to 2015, the just-announced machine is slated for availability toward the end of this year. The MetalONE is an SLM 3D printer and is now seeking beta testers to ensure it’s market-ready. Drawn from experience in powder sintering that turned into the SLS SnowWhite system, the MetalOne turns toward metal. The machine boasts a decent build volume at 65 x 65 x 100 cm, ready to work (well, test) with stainless steel 316 and cobalt chrome materials to start. The MetalOne is powered by Sharebot’s software, with monitoring via 12” touchscreen.
On the desktop side, Aleph Objects is taking its popular TAZ 3D printers pro: meet the LulzBot TAZ Pro. Marking the company’s entry to the professional/prosumer category, the new 3D printer is designed for “large functional prototypes, manufacturing aids, and print-on-demand parts with professional results.” The TAZ Pro is multi-material friendly — and the announcement stresses that that means more functionality than ‘just’ the same material in another color or support material: “Durable and high-strength composite materials can be printed within the same part, as well as a wide range of materials with soluble supports for complex prints. Flexible materials with a Shore A hardness as low as 85A and industrial-grade polymers can also be printed in the same print.” Pre-orders are open now, with printers expected to ship in late April. Aleph Objects is also teasing another new machine, with the follow-on to the TAZ 6 to be unveiled May 1.
A new 3D printer promises speed and scale for dental labs.
The Varseo XL joins the dental 3D printing portfolio at BEGO in a big way. Skipping over the L size entirely, the XL means it, with a substantial build volume (the company says “10x the volume and 5x the print area of all comparable 3D printers on the market”). It also brings significant speed (“up to 6x the speed”).
The claims are big — and come from Nexa3D, which makes the new machine, branded for BEGO. The Varseo XL is slated for commercialization within the next year, available through BEGO’s dental reseller network.
What better way to end a digest than 3D printed sushi customized by poo and a look at food safety regarding 3D printing?
The poo thing is real; Sushi Singularity is set to offer customized 3D printed sushi made just for each customer, based on his or her biometrics…as collected through saliva, urine, and/or fecal samples. Invasive? Maybe. Delicious? Hopefully. Well balanced? Also hopefully. The Japanese endeavor is based in Tokyo, a project from Open Meals. A Food Operation System (FOS) will run data from the Health Identification (HID) to make the sushi, on the Food Fabrication Machine (FFM). The sushi itself looks beautiful, both like actual sushi and like some futuristic food made by a robot chef (which is what it is).
I don’t know what else to say about this one; check it out:
Also on the food side, but not edible itself, Formlabs focuses on food safety.
A new tutorial, The Essential Guide to Food Safe 3D Printing: Regulations, Technologies, Materials, and More, focuses on the ins and outs of what you need to know if you’ll be 3D printing anything for food contact. Thinking of making some cookie cutters, a coffee mug, or a personalized spoon? For the most part, making a coaster or something similarly proximal to but that doesn’t actually touch food is much safer.
But if you want to make something for food contact, this new resource is a great place to start. It’s especially promising that early on they note: “No Formlabs resins are food safe unless users take additional steps.” It’s those additional steps that provide any semblance of food safety.
The full tutorial, well worth the read, covers:
- What Does Food Safe Really Mean?
- General Food Safe 3D Printing Considerations
- Food Safe 3D Printing With Stereolithography (SLA)
- Food Safe 3D Printing With Fused Deposition Modeling
- Food Safe 3D Printing With Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
- Conclusion and Further Reading
Optomec has expanded its LENS metal 3D printing portfolio with new introductions.
The LENS CS 600 and CS 800 Controlled Atmosphere (CA) DED systemsare configurable new additions to the company’s Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) Classic System Series. Both machines are already available and shipping has begun. The systems have base features including controlled atmosphere chambers and a Siemens 840D controller for three- (standard) or four- or five-axis motion. Configurations can be adapted for customer preference, as users can adjust the setup with a “user interchangeable rotary table and/or tilt-rotate trunnion for four and five-axis operations.” Further, the new machines are compatible with the newest LENS deposition head for laser power processing up to 3 kW, interchangeable print nozzles, and variable spot sizes.
“These new systems come packed with next-generation DED components all born from signature Optomec know-how and built to provide affordable, high-quality metal additive manufacturing capabilities for industry’s most demanding requirements,” said Tom Cobbs, Optomec LENS product manager. “The LENS CS 600 and CS 800 systems represent the latest in DED processing from precision deposition to cladding applications and extend our product portfolio to continue to provide high-value metal additive manufacturing solutions.”
Carbon and ZVerse have announced a new strategic partnership.
Many of Carbon’s partnerships have revolved around specific usage as the company’s DLS technology enables production-quality and -scale 3D printing. The latest, though, shows a unique benefit for the Carbon Production Network (CPN): design. The design partnership will allow access to the ZVerse 3D Design-On-Demand Platform and Services, which are said to have been optimized for the CPN. Design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) remains a barrier to entry for 3D printing, especially at the production level. Working with experts in design who are trained in the ins and outs of specific processes opens up possibilities. ZVerse prides itself on creating usable 3D files from designs or drawings. The company’s 3D Design on Demand platform is already in use by Xometry, through a partnership announced last year. And now, says Carbon Co-Founder and VP of Business Development Phil DeSimone, “ZVerse will help bridge the design gap and enable Carbon customers to create previously un-makeable products using Carbon DLS technology.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Carbon to deliver their Production Partners and Customers the easiest path from idea to manufacturable files. Our mission is to increase the pipeline of production applications for our digital manufacturing partners, at scale, by removing the friction associated with providing design services,” said John Carrington, CEO at ZVerse. “As a Design Partner, we look forward to enabling more production opportunities for companies using Carbon DLS technology.”
A recently announced partnership is taking steps to develop and commercialize multi-metal 3D printing.
Belgium-based Aerosint and Germany-based Aconity are working together to advance laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) 3D printing. They are developing and plan to bring to market a system to 3D print multiple metals within the same build. Aerosint has created a recoater that can be added as a module to an LPBF 3D printer — for the purposes of this collaboration, that’s the large-scale AconityONE. The recoater was designed to use patented powder voxel deposition technology to create the multi-metal layers. The companies are hoping in the near term to attract potential users as they look to ensure that targeted and real-world needs are met.
“What Aerosint has invented is very unique. An LPBF system with multi-material capabilities is unseen in the industry. Our customers have been waiting for these capabilities and we are therefore excited to start working on a potential solution for them. Multi-material is for us the next evolution of 3D printing and we are happy we can be pioneers here together with Aerosint,” said Aconity CEO Yves Hagedorn.
Stratasys’ J750 3D printer debuted in 2016 with multi-material capabilities. The new J720 takes those capabilities straight to the dental market.
Introduced this week at LMT Lab Day Chicago, the J720 Dental was designed to speed up and simplify dental workflows. Stratasys notes that its new multi-material, 500,000-color-capable machine is high resolution and can offer “1.75x the daily throughput of high-end DLP and SLA dental 3D printers.” 3D printing with up to six materials at the same time and featuring GrabCAD Print software, the cloud-connected new machine offers hands-off functionality for dental labs.
“Labs today operate in a very competitive space where differentiation counts on mastering the digital workflow and expanding into new products and services,” said Barry Diener, Dental Segment Sales Leader, Stratasys. “The J720 Dental 3D Printer is designed to change the game – allowing levels of speed, productivity and realism the market has never seen. This powers laboratories to meet the demands of a competitive market and push the boundaries of digital dentistry.
Ultimaker Cura connects to the cloud and adds three companies’ material profiles.
Cura 4.0, now in beta, will be available next month. With that launch on 19 March will come a new capability: Ultimaker Cloud. Announced this week at TCT Asia, the company describes Cloud’s initial capabilities upon launch as including:
- Backups: Keep your Ultimaker Cura settings in the cloud and conveniently retrieve them for use anywhere, on any computer
- Marketplace: Get exclusive access to print profiles configured by material experts from leading brands, choose the ideal material for your application, and instantly get optimized settings in Ultimaker Cura for the best results
- Marketplace ratings: Share your opinions and experiences with plugins in the Marketplace
- Remote printing: Send print jobs to network-enabled Ultimaker printers from anywhere and stay informed of print progress
Available now on Cura, though, are new print profiles for materials from Essentium, eSUN, and Polymaker. As Cura continues to increase its holdings of specific material print profiles, users will be able to add to their understanding of the materials, including engineering-grade, they can use on their desktop 3D printers. New material profiles include Ultrafuse ZPCTG (Essentium); PETG, ePA-CF, and HIPS from eSUN; and PolyMide PA6-CF, PolyMide CoPA, and PolyCast from Polymaker.