3D Desktop Printers Highlighted at RAPID 2012
RAPID 2012, the top conference and exposition in North America covering additive manufacturing and 3D printing, is now underway in Atlanta. The show runs from May 22-25.
Among the many technologies on display, high quality, professional level desktop 3D printers are making a strong showing.
In fact, on opening day, Objet, based in Rehovot, Israel, announced the Objet30 Pro, a new desktop printer targeted directed at designers and engineers who want this kind of advanced prototyping capability at their fingertips. The company is casting a wide net, looking to garner customers from industries ranging from consumer goods and consumer electronics, to medical devices and design consultancies.
The printer offers seven different materials, including, for the first time on a desktop system, clear transparent as well as high temperature resistant materials, a selection that previously was available only on high end 3D printers.
Here’s the line up of what’s available:
- Objet clear transparent material (Objet VeroClear) for simulating PMMA/glass;
- Objet High temperature material for heat-resistant static functional testing;Objet polypropylene-like material
- (Objet DurusWhite) for simulating snap-fit parts
- Four rigid, opaque materials for standard plastic simulation (Objet Vero Family in black, white, gray, and blue).
The little classic car show here features all seven types of materials.
The system provides a build tray size of 300 x 200 x 150mm, which allows users to print a variety of different, shaped and sized models on the same build tray at the same time.
You can see the Objet video at the end of this article.
There’s another new 3D desktop printer on display at the show, but it’s all in the family. Stratasys, one of the leaders in 3D printing, is featuring its Mojo, the market’s lowest-priced professional-grade 3D printing system.
Competition for the Objet30Pro? It might have been except that on April 16 Stratasys and Objet announced that they will be merging. The combined company will retain the Stratasys name.
In the meantime, the Mojo 3D printer is garnering plenty of attention from engineering and design professionals. Based on the company’s patented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM®) technology, this is not a machine for the home hobbyist.
In the Digital Manufacturing Report feature announcing Mojo, Stratasys VP of Global Marketing Jon Cobb commented, “The name Mojo implies magic, which is how some describe 3D printing upon first witnessing it. You can buy a less expensive 3D printer, but for the serious designer or engineer, Mojo is the lowest-priced product that offers professional-quality output, comes as a complete package system, and uses industrial-grade thermoplastic material. I expect this will be of interest not just to engineers and educators, but entrepreneurs and independent designers as well.”
The DMR feature story noted that Mojo employs an innovative variation on traditional FDM material extrusion. The ABS material spool and the print head are integrated to a single package, called the QuickPack print engine. To ensure optimal reliability, a fresh print head is part of each material change. Material loading is similar to snapping in an inkjet cartridge on a paper printer.
All Stratasys machines are aimed at professional designers. According to Stratasys, consumer 3D printers on the market do not have the same part quality, reliability and ease-of-use that Stratasys FDM Technology™ delivers.
The Mojo is perfect for designers performing concept modeling applications. It uses durable, thermoplastic material to create high-quality parts, which will allow parts to be used as functional prototypes, jigs and fixtures – in addition to end-use parts.
Of course, another major contender in this space – 3D Systems – launched its ProJet 1500 Personal Color 3D printer last year. Although the company classifies it as a desktop system and touts its “sleek industrial design,” the machine has a somewhat looming presence as you can see in the photograph.
RAPID – Additive Manufacturing Show of Shows
RAPID is the venue for showcasing this kind of technology. It is North America's definitive additive manufacturing event and is co-located with the 3D IMAGING event. The show is sponsored by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and training.
Conference exhibits feature additive manufacturing technologies that are rapidly gaining acceptance in a variety of industries including aerospace and defense, architecture, medical, motor vehicles, consumer products, arts and entertainment and more.
Attendees to this year’s gathering are experiencing first-hand how additive manufacturing and 3D printing are being used in the early stages of product design, all the way through to final, multiple part production, and how the technologies can reduce design and development time, cut production timeframes, and lower costs.
A listing of the many technologies being discussed in the conference sessions and being exhibited on the show floor can be seen here.
Among them are additive/rapid manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing, direct digital manufacturing, laser sintering, rapid prototyping and solid modeling. Manufacturing processes covered include CAD/CAE/CAM, EDM, electron beam manufacturing and much more. 3D imaging (or scanning) is well represented, as are the various materials used for 3D printing. Other technologies featured include mold and mold making and quality essentials such as finite element analysis, inspection systems, and various measurement technology such as measuring tools and equipment.
Nadra Angerman, 3D Printing Goddess and a contributor to the Digital Manufacturing Report, is attending the show and will be providing us with post-conference coverage recapping the event’s primary highlights.