June 17, 2014

3D Systems released today some of the first details about their new high-speed, continuous fab-grade printer, which could set a new bar for mass-customization product manufacturing.

This "racetrack" 3D printer enables continuous printing of higher functionality polymers at speeds 50x faster than all existing jetting technology, according to 3D Systems. The company plans to showcase this next generation general-purpose production platform at Euromold 2014.

Whereas 3D printers typically utilize a moving printhead on a stationary bed, this high-speed, continuous fab-grade printer puts the print bed in motion on speedy track system under a set of stationary printheads.

The result is a 3D printing assembly line: many products printing at once, all unique, all in full color and multi materials. Parts in varying phases of completion move in a continuous flow. When a part is done, it exits the track for post-processing and a new print bed takes its place. This is high-speed, custom, continuous, and fully automated manufacturing.

This new high-speed printer and its advanced materials (including conductive materials) will be used to print millions of module shells for Google's Project Ara, the initiative to create a modular smartphone that reflects each person's unique style as well as choice of functional modules. They need the capability to create thousands of unique module shells everyday.

Most important, this new high speed, mass-customized additive manufacturing platform can be easily integrated with traditional manufacturing processes (such as CNC machining and coating), opening up countless new applications for 3D printing on factory floors.

Take a look at this video to see this high-speed fab-grade platform in action.

Posted in 3D Printers

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Bri wrote at 6/20/2014 11:58:55 PM:

I'm guessing here that they'll try to patent the 100 year old idea of a production line.

YetAnotherGuy wrote at 6/19/2014 5:53:30 PM:

Indeed we have seen this before :-) the link of AnotherGuy is correct. The TNO PrintValley setup was already shown at the Euromold in 2012. It even looks very similar!

AnotherGuy wrote at 6/18/2014 8:55:04 AM:

Haven't we seen this before? http://youtu.be/FXi2b4vqvug

ThatGuy wrote at 6/17/2014 10:34:42 PM:

That seems like it would be slow, or at least not as fast as they make it seem. No offense, but it needs two print head lines as they go around, that would be twice as fast. Or a line with tens of these so that it prints fast. I don't think people realize how big molding machine sites can be- and how expensive the machines are. I think people expect a $50k printer to spit our a huge amount of multimaterial pieces in a period of time.

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