Skip to comments.Objet's Largest 3D Printer Doesn't Lose Precision
Posted on 01/03/2013 9:48:23 AM PST by null and void
The Objet1000 is Objet Ltd.'s largest printer to date and features a 1,000mm x 800mm x 500mm build envelope along with the company's renowned Connex multi-material capability.
This printer, which was displayed at Euromold 2012, is big and means business; it's not your average hobbyist printer that you would find in your neighbor's garage. Measuring about the size of a compact car, the Objet1000 was designed to be used within industries such as automotive, defense, medical, or any other sector that may benefit from large, industrial size, 1:1 precise prototypes.
It uses the effective and efficient technology previously used by Objet. Utilizing its Connex multi-material capability, the printer can simultaneously print two different materials. Additionally, the company offers more than 100 different materials, which can all be used to print products with different properties. As a result, designers and engineers have the capability to create materials with unique thermal or mechanical properties or materials that can bend like a rubber.
The Objet1000, the world's largest 3D printer as of December 2012, has a work envelope of 1,000mm x 800mm x 500mm at a 16 micron resolution. This image shows the scale of the Objet1000, definitely not something for the living room hobbyist.
Objet technology also features the industry's highest resolution, which really sets it apart from anything else. Materials printed from the machine are based on a 16 micron layering process, whereas Makerbot's Replicator 2 can achieve a quality within 100 micron layers. Formlabs recently released a printer using a similar printing technology as Objet that can print as precise as 25 microns. However, Makerbot and Formlabs alike are both designed to bring 3D printing home and cannot even begin to compare to the size Objet1000 can work with.
Concept modeling for companies can be a lengthy and expensive process. The Objet1000 would be a good investment for many companies. Some companies send their designs out to third parties and have to wait weeks before they can get their prototype. This wastes time and exposes their designs to others, which companies can be wary about. In addition, some companies may print many different pieces to make up a larger part. This can be less effective and result in a less accurate model. Objet also provides a return on investment (ROI) calculator to see what is right for the customer. After running the calculator, it seems my ROI will be 16 months for only a handful of small projects.
As 3D printing starts gaining momentum, more industries will begin to equip their research facilities with high-quality 3D printers. They are perfect for reducing concept build times and can save companies lots of money by eliminating third parties. The first printers available will be shipped starting in the second quarter of 2013, with a wider availability opening up in the second half of 2013. For those lucky enough to work with the Objet1000, the possibilities are endless. Though, I am sure the $40,000-plus USD price tag will keep it out of reach for most. Or only out of reach for 16 months, according to my ROI.
3-D printer ping
“Earl Grey, hot.”
Years from now people will grin as they look at the photo of that big 3D printer. Then they will pull out a little portable gizmo from their pocket, fold out the legs, set it on the table and print out a new transmission for their car.
It may seem to be a bit “out there”, but I can see something like this showing up at the ship or “shop” level in the Military. It would be a whole lot more efficient to just maintain the required “Building Blocks” and create supplies, spare parts and what have you’s at the local level.
And also something to think about, how hard would it be to create caseless ammunition with unique bullet designs?
The government will try to control this. Can’t let the people do something that isn’t regulated by the government.
At some point these are going to each a continous spectrum with CNC machining centers. Of course a 5 axis CNC mill is about ten times as expensive as one of these, but can produce a part in a variety of materials that the printer cannot
Not even close to being the biggest. For that, you need to see the one that uses concrete to print houses:
There is actually a prototype of this up and working (I think about 1/4-1/2 scale), with a video showing it at work.
I see a business opportunity here. Buying one or more of these and renting them out to individuals and companies at so much per hour.
7075 T6 aluminum. I have access to blocks of this stuff. The desired metal for an AR lower.
Give me an old vertical mill and some bits, a sander, a plasma cutter and a TIG welder i can make an AR lower from a block of this aluminum.
There are whole villages that can make AK parts with nothing but a hammer, chisel and files.
That’s pretty cool.
Or, in the post-0bama future, surviving elders will regale children with tales of the “magic boxes” of old as they load up their burros and goat carts.
In every sense of the word!
I didn't mention this in our previous conversations but I'm a retired engineer. We used a variation of instant prototyping to produce patterns and core boxes (tooling to produce iron castings) for prototype development.
The process we used sliced up the computer model into sections about 0.005" thick which is typical of all 3D printing machines. The "building" machine had a square platen that was lowered 0.005" per cycle, a paper handling heated roller, and a laser on an X/Y gantry. The paper used was about 0.005" thick and had a thermal glue on one side. In operation the machine rolled out a layer of paper on the platen, the laser sketched out the outline of the cross section. Everything not inside the CS was diced up into 1/4" squares, the platen was lowered 0.005" and the process repeated.
When you "printed" the last section the model was buried inside a big paper cube, you rubbed the outside as the 1/4" dice fell away from your part made of laminated paper.
The finished part was as dense and hard as oak and could be mounted directly to a pattern board to make sand molds for producing cast iron parts. They were good for about 100 or so molds before they started to wear out. They could also be used as a master pattern to produce aluminum tooling for mass production.
The process was inherently faster than working with plastic or powdered metal as you only scanned the outline of the sections. If you are using powdered materials you have to scan the entire cross section to fuse the powder into a solid.
The moral of the story is that "instant" prototyping is far from instant and can run to days depending on the required resolution and the size of the part. It makes more sense from a business standpoint to use your expensive machine to produce temporary tooling (molds, patterns, dies) and then use conventional methods to produce hundreds of pre-production samples for physical testing and marketing. This cycle may be repeated as needed if final "tweeking" of the design is required.
Wooden ships carried a carpenter aboard. Twentieth-century ships had a machine shop. Twenty-first-century ships will have 3D printers. (We know that Twenty-third-century ships will carry replicators.)
Flip side: 3d printers can make stuff CNC machines can’t.
Think in terms of digital vs film photography: for a long time naysayers decried digital’s poor resolution (pixels and color depth) etc, pointing at what it couldn’t do. The gap narrowed, met, and is now surpassed for most purposes. Sure we can’t make stuff with some materials now, but just the range of materials has exploded in a few months. I keep thinking “Swedish powdered steel”, a robust material which would not be terribly hard to adapt to object printing and which would produce results suitable for heat treating and hard use.
3-D printing in METAL.
Before you know it people will be making their own 100 watt incandescent light bulbs.
Yes. Current available metals include: Titanium and titanium alloys, stainless steel, cobalt, cobalt chrome, tool steel, nickel, nickel super alloys, 316 stainless steel/bronze, 420 stainless steel/bronze (annealed & non-annealed), bronze, maraging steels, dental alloys, Al and AlSiMg, 18kt gold, silver.
I’ve seen shape memory alloys mentioned in the past few days but can’t find the source off hand. (I’ve worked with Nitinol, there are some tricks one needs do to get reliable thin films that could be challenging in a 3-D printer)
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