Continued from Firms Exhibit Variety of 3D Printers (2)
3D Systems Japan
3D Systems Japan K.K. Exhibited the "CubeX Duo," a low-price 3D printer manufactured by 3D Systems Corp. It melts materials with heat and accumulates layers.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS, 17 colors) and polylactic acid (PLA, 16 colors) can be used with the printer. Though PLA can be used as a modeling material, it is basically used as a supporting material.
The maximum size of an object that can be formed is 230 x 265 x 240mm. The resolution in the direction of the layer's thickness (z-axis) is 0.1/0.25/0.5mm. The price of the printer is ¥459,900 (approx US$4,702, including tax). The modeling and supporting materials are priced at ¥18,900 per 1kg (including tax).
Sea Force Inc displayed the "DigitalWax 029X" 3D printer. It forms an object by applying laser to solidify part of liquid ultraviolet curable resin in a tank. Most of the kinds of resins that can be used for the printer are acrylic-based resins that can be used for lost-wax process. Some of them are hard or resistant to heat.
The maximum size of an object that can be formed is 150 x 150 x 200mm. The pitch of accumulation is 0.01 to 0.10mm. The scanning speed of the printer's laser is 5,000mm/s. It uses the galvanometer scanning method. The printer can form a ring in one hour.
The price of the DigitalWax 029X is ¥15.8 million. The material cost is ¥60,000 to 90,000/kg.
JBM Corp exhibited the "Mcor IRIS," a 3D full-color printer manufactured by Mcor Technologies Ltd. It uses A4-size copy paper as material.
It is possible to form an object in the following procedure. First, a 2D color inkjet printer is used to print a design on each of the pieces of paper to be accumulated. After loading the bottom layer (paper) on the printing area, an adhesive is applied to the bottom layer. Then, the next piece of paper is attached to the bottom layer, pressed and cut. And this process is repeated to form an object.
The material cost for the Mcor IRIS is about 1/2 to 1/20 those for existing 3D printers using resins as modeling materials, JBM said. In addition to paper, it requires a cutter, adhesive and ink as consumables.
The pitch of accumulation is 50μm in the x-axis and y-axis directions and 100μm in the z-axis direction. The maximum size of an object that can be formed is A4 size x 15cm (H).
The shaping speed in the height direction is about 1cm per hour. It can express more than one million colors. And it does not require any toxic chemical agent used to remove supporting materials. It is possible to realize a strength as high as that of wood by coating a formed object in the back-end process.