Feb 7, 2016 | By Andre

3D printing has been expanding out from the industrial sector to commercially focused segments like dentistry and small design studios for a few years now. So it’s no shocker that Singapore based Structo is expanding on their 3D printer lineup with two new high-speed machines dedicated to grab a foothold in these emerging markets.

The OrthoForm is a wifi enabled 3D printer dedicated to the dental market and is capable of printing 8 moulds in 25 minutes (or 28 moulds in 1 and a half hours (with a per mould cost of $4)), comes equipped with proprietary materials and is compatible with already existing dental software and file formats. Considering 3D print speed seems to be most important for the production of aligner and retainer in dentistry (current technologies can't keep up with demand) Structo's high-speed entry into the sector makes perfect sense. Their second new MSLA based 3D printer, the OmniForm is designed to match up with the needs of product designers, architects and engineers by allowing complex, functional with equally fast output speeds in a variety of materials (currently being developed under the Structomer name).

To me, the 3D print quality of these machines is impressive enough, but the production speed is really how Structo is aiming to separate itself from the pack. Huub van Esbroeck, one of Structo's founders notes that “when we started three years ago, we were amazed at how slow 3D printing was despite commonly being referred to as a means of ‘rapid’ prototyping. Knowing that the lack of large scale printing at fast speeds would limit the industry moving forward, we completely re-looked at how this could be achieved. As a result, we came up with a new, faster method to SLA printing which no one else was doing, and yet could still provide the dimensional accuracy people expect. We’re excited at the possibilities of this technology.”

He talks further about the materials science deparment by saying that “making our own materials is vital to helping our technology advance,” and that they’re “working on some interesting advancements with our materials and look forward to announcing those soon.”

An additional advantage of their specialized liquid crystal masking technology is the scalability available at its core. By using a modular light source array (vs. a single point source as seen in other speed focused technologies like DLP 3D printing) they can be built at just about any size without losing 3D print speeds. Since getting into 3D printing myself, I’ve often told people that the major hurdles that need to be dealt with before mainstream adoption can take place is addressing speed, materials and size limitations. It appears Structo 3D printing is focusing very clearly on all three of these.

On top of the high-speed 3D printing technologies, Structo has also partnered up with Materialise, one of oldest and well-respected software companies focusing on 3D printing to develop Structo PrintWorks. This software allows for easy and intuitive analyses and editing as well as automated support generation for any 3D model file. Materialse’s flagship software suite Magics is also compatible with the Structo 3D printer lineup.

Huub has praised their partnership by saying that “through this partnership, we are able to deeply integrate Materialise software with our hardware and offer the best-in-class turnkey solution for ultra-rapid prototyping.”

The 3D printer market is so dense with competition these days that it’s difficult to distinguish the copycats from the true innovators. Structo definitely seems to be pulling out all the stops with their MSLA based 3D printing series. Just the idea of being able to 3D print at a similar speed regardless of print volume goes against everything my experience with traditional FDM and SLA 3D printing technologies dictates. And the release of a 3D printer specific to the dental industry makes perfect sense considering the increasing demand therein.

Technical Specs:

Omniform 3D Printer

  • Build Volume
    • 200 (X) by 150 (Y) by 300 (Z) mm (9 Liters)
    • 7.8 (X) by 5.9 (Y) by 11.8 (Y) inch (2.35 Gallons)
  • Resolution (XY)
    • 96 µm x 96 µm
    • 0.0038 inch x 0.0038 inch (265 DPI)
  • Layer Thickness (Z)
    • 25 µm (minimum)
    • 0.0009 inch (minimum)
  • Build Speed
    • up to 18 cm3 / minute
    • up to 1.1 in3 / minute

Orthoform 3D Printer

  • Build Volume
    • 200 (X) by 150 (Y) by 100 (Z) mm (3 Liters)
    • 7.8 (X) by 5.9 (Y) by 3.9(Y) inch (0.78 Gallons)
  • Resolution (XY)
    • 96 µm x 96 µm
    • 0.0038 inch x 0.0038 inch (265 DPI)
  • Layer Thickness (Z)
    • 25 µm (minimum)
    • 0.0009 inch (minimum)
  • Build Speed
    • up to 18 cm3 / minute
    • up to 1.1 in3 / minute

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer

 

 

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