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Ewloe, United Kingdom
Writing, tweeting, debating and occasionally getting a little over-excited about 3D Printing. But always aiming to keep it real!

Monday 5 December 2011

Three more 3D printers that came to light last week.

There has been a surge of new additive machines recently — all demonstrated at Euromold last week. I reported on five in my blog last week. Here are three more! 

The BluePrinter comes from a Danish company of the same name, and is “an affordable 3D printer with new ‘Selective Heat Sintering’ (SHS) technology.” In terms of capital costs, it has an introductory price tag of 9,995 euros, which does make it affordable for small and medium size enterprises looking for additive technologies for product development. And for a sintering machine, this is an attractive price. My spies on the ground have also reported that the quality of the parts coming off the machine is very good, with a print resolution of 0.1mm. The real eye-opener though is that the machine is supplied with thermoplastic powder materials costing just 49 euros per kilo – which equates to 3 euros for an average sized model. This is very impressive and an extremely attractive selling point.

The SHS process (trademarked) distinguishes itself from laser sintering (LS) by using a thermal printhead rather than a laser to sinter the plastic powder. The powder bed also negates the need for support materials and clean up of the models is similar to LS; ie excess powder removal. Can be messy. But with a web-based interface and a neat, desktop sized foot print, this is a 3D printer that could attract industrial users and the maker movement.

The second is actually a series of machines from a new technology company — RapidShape — based in Germany. The series includes the S60 mini, the S60 midi and the S60 maxi. So, essentially the same machine, from what I can tell, each offering different resolutions — ultra fine, super fine and fine respectively. The design of the machine itself is very reminiscent of the Envisiontec Perfactory, the process is resin based, and the prominent target market looks to be jewellery, so I am thinking there is some collaboration between the two here, but that’s just a guess. The parts out of the machine look extremely impressive with fine details and a range of materials for specific applications. Another impressive feature is the speed of the build — quoted as 10mm in 10 minutes. I haven’t found a price yet, but let me know if you do!

Finally, I have heard that DWS Systems, based in Italy, has added to its range of machines with the 030d model. I don’t have any details on this one yet, but just as soon as I do, I will get them up.

So, that is eight machines in seven days! Really can’t ever remember a week quite like it. It’s brilliant to see the additive sector proliferating in this way. And for anyone that saw the 3D Systems acquisition of ZCorp as having a contracting effect on the sector, I think this last week can set any fears to rest. 


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