Technology Myriad advantages from 3D printing

Editor: Eric Culp

Proprietary 3D printing technology from Objet is said to offer a range of functional features for those interested in additive manufacturing, and shops can even make moulds for short production runs.

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Objet’s 3D printers meld ingredients to create “digital materials” with better properties.
Objet’s 3D printers meld ingredients to create “digital materials” with better properties.
(Source: Objet)

Objet’s Connex 3D printing technology works by jetting two distinct types of the company’s materials. The technology can print combinations of rigid and flexible materials, various transparent and opaque materials and different colours. Each material is fed to a dedicated liquid system, which is connected to the printing block with eight printing heads. Every head includes 96 nozzles, each measuring 50 µm in diameter, and each material has two designated printing heads that work in sync.

Independent nozzle control

Objet’s printing technology controls each nozzle in every print head independently. This means that preset combinations of model materials create new materials, different material parts within a model, as well as different material models that are being printed at once.

One of the advantages of the technology is the benefit of producing “digital materials”, composites with attributes unavailable in the individual ingredients. This allows for the creation of more than 100 different types of materials, a number that will increase as the company unveils more base materials.

A sum stronger than the parts

The printers can even make materials with properties that exceed those of the ingredients. Objet’s ABS-like material, for example, has been used for injection tools. This provides prototypes early in the design process, fast validation, economical small series production and reduced time to market for final parts.