Apr 24, 2018 | By David

The Rapid + TCT show being held in Fort Worth, TX, from April 24-26, is an occasion for all kinds of innovative 3D printing developments to be demonstrated. Amongst these will be a number of new 3D printers from established 3D printing experts, such as the ones we previously reported on from Titan Robotics and MakerGear. Formalloy and Xact Metal will also be debuting new machines at this year’s event. Formalloy’s new X-Series metal 3D printer will be on display, as will two new metal 3D printers from Xact Metal - the XM200C and XM200S.

Formalloy's new X-Series LMD 3D printer

San Diego-based 3D printer manufacturer Formalloy will be using this year’s Rapid + TCT show to debut its new X-Series metal 3D printer. The X-Series makes use of Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) technology. Like the company’s previous L-Series machines, it’s one of the first LMD 3D printers on the market to feature blue laser technology.

The X-Series starts at $200,000, and it has a number of advanced features including closed-loop control and the company’s proprietary Formfeed powder feeders, for building gradient/bi-metallic structures. Users will be able to use different wavelengths in their printing processes, with infrared as well as blue lasers being available.

The X-Series machines come with Formalloy’s Formax Metal Deposition Head, which has been proven to have high powder efficiency as well as built-in quick-release features, for ease of maintenance and component swaps. Like all Formalloy’s 3D printers, the X-Series is designed with open parameters for powder supply. This allows users to work with their own choice of metals and metal alloys depending on preference, availability and the particular application they are using their X-Series metal 3D printer for.

 

Xact Metal's affordable XM200S/C 3D printers

Pennsylvania-based Xact Metal will be debuting two new metal 3D printers at this year’s show, both of which are designed to offer a high level of precision at a relatively affordable price point. They are upgraded versions of the company's first metal 3D printing system, the XM200, which was released last year. They are the XM200S and the XM200C.

The XM200S is priced at $130,000 and is intended for fast production of high-performance metal parts. It’s a compact 3D printer, with a build volume of 127x127x125 mm (5x5x4.9 in). It uses a 200W Yb fiber laser, with a digital galvanometer mirror scanner that has a jogging speed of 12 m (39ft) /second. The new technology for directing the laser replaces the older, more expensive galvo servers, which has allowed the company to cut down on costs.

In a press release, Matt Woods, CTO of Xact Metal, said, "Precision digital optical systems provide active thermal drift compensation which eliminates warm-up times and minimizes long-term drift during printing operations. The 24-bit command resolution gives industry- leading positional accuracy. In addition, the patent-pending recoater uses a unique "bulb" shape element to spread powder like a blade, yet provides compaction similar to a rolling element, and the compliant design allows the recoater to negotiate out-of-plane growth and continue printing."

The company will also be showcasing its new XM200C 3D printer, which is available for just $80,000. This is aimed at smaller businesses and educational or research institutes, for making prototypes or casting molds. It uses a 100W Yb fiber laser, patent-pending scanner, and has a build volume of 127x127x127 mm (5x5x5 in).

The XM200C is capable of offering metal powder bed 3D printing at such a low price due to its improved mirror system, based on the Xact Core. This ''high-speed gantry system platform...uses light, simple mirrors to move quickly and consistently above the powder bed on an X-Y axis and lowers the overall system cost'', said Woods. ''In addition, the Xact Core technology avoids the use of complex rotating galvanometer mirrors and F-theta lenses, maintains a constant laser angle across the whole build plate, and provides a simplified gas flow over the powder bed.''

 

 

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