Commercial 3D Printers

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The commercial end of 3D printing is going in many different directions and there are a few big players in this global innovation segment. While some focus on office systems that enable engineering firms and design studios, others seek to provide new manufacturing alternatives and possibilities. The following companies are blazing the exciting and lucrative trails of professional quality 3D printing.

3D Systemshas perhaps the widest breadth of technologies in the 3D printing space, and their portfolio includes some of the best known and well respected personal and professional printing systems. Their commitment to making additive manufacturing more available has proven a worthwhile endeavor, as some of their products have become household names. The people at 3D Systems want you to create your creations, so beyond offering the physical printing systems, they also offer CAD software and content development support.

The ProJet series includes professional and personal models. The personal models start at around $15,000, printing in color. The professional end of the ProJet series is incredibly wide and diverse; these models are ideal for prototyping, concept communication, and certain configurations can handle short production runs. ProJets can have rather large build volumes and some can be made to operate for several days without human interaction.

ZPrinters make up the remaining portion of the 3D Systems professional lineup. These printers produce monochromatic and color creations. Creativity is unrestrained with the multicolored and quick printing these systems provide. ZPrinters, like ProJets, are intended to be office workhorses that are under near constant operation, producing beautiful content every time.

If you want to produce large objects or objects in mass, the 3D Systems solutions to consider are called iPro, sPro, and voxeljet (North American distributor). The iPro series uses stereolithography (SLA) technology to produce extremely smooth pieces. The sPros use Selective Laser Sintering (STS) to do something similar, but faster and bigger; the sPro line also makes use of Direct Metal Selective Laser Melting (SLM), which can manifest medical and aeronautical grade metal stuffs from Cobalt to Titanium and steel. Whether you need rapid prototyping or rapid manufacturing, 3D Systems has a solution or several.

3D Systems also offers prototyping and manufacturing services through 3Dproparts and Quickparts, as well as an array of digital models through various directories like Vidar and The 3D Studio. As covered on the Personal Printers page, 3D Systems also produces several desktop printers, including the 3DTouch, Botmill, and Cube. Clearly 3D Systems is penetrating many markets.

The FORTUS 900mc 3D Production System

Stratasyswas founded in 1989 and is headquartered at Eden Prairie, Minnesota. They produce 3D printers that are capable of rapid manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and DIY 3D printing in high definition due to their patented Fused Deposition Modeling. Offering a full line of machines including desktop, office, and factory models, their customer base is wide, large, and growing.

Stratasys desktop printers include the uPrint and Mojo. Both series use WaveWash systems to dissolve supports in a water-based solution. These printers are ideal for small design studios and companies with basic prototyping needs, as theyre low cost and produce quality models.

TheDimensionseries is the hallmark of Stratasys printers and has entered many professional offices. These printers can produce larger models at even greater detail than the desktop models, and use the same WaveWash technology for support removal. Dimension printers are best suited for engineering firms that need accurate models for testing purposes.

Objetis a 3D printer manufacturer that merged with Stratasys. Before that Objet distributed their own desktop and office systems that are affordable and professional. Their Eden series has exceptional resolution and is intended to be very cost effective. The Connex line is where Objet really shines though as it can print pieces in 14 materials at once from a choice of over 100 sturdy, rubber like, clear, and colorful materials. As far as variety of possible objects that can be produced, Objet is a heavy contender.

Solidscapepresents a line of Stratasys systems specially designed for producing high resolution castings which are commonly used for dental implants and intricate jewelry, as well as components for electrical devices. These printers generally use, but are not limited to, wax as their printing material.

Fortuscompletes the Stratasys portfolio with 3D manufacturing solutions. This series has the largest build envelope and is designed for repeated prints that are very rigid. Fortus printers are intended for producing tools, jigs, and end-use products. A Finishing Touch Smoothing Station is also offered, and makes models up to 15 times smoother.

RedEye offers professional printing services through utilizing over 500 machines using Stratasys technology. Whether you need prototypes or volume orders of parts or end-use products, theyve got you covered.

Headquartered in Germany and founded by electrical, optical, and mechanical engineers,EnvisionTECis a manufacturer of professional grade printers focused on cost effectiveness and they sport the Perfactory (personal factory) line. These systems incorporate Texas Instruments DLP technology to achieve very fine levels of detail for applications such as dental and ear molds, and this DLP tech lends a special quickness to these printers too. EnvisionTEC offers desktop and office versions of Perfactory printers, so their products can scale with you as your business grows. What really separates EnvisionTEC from the crowd is their 3D-Bioplotter, which is designed to print scaffolds from biomaterials!

A common theme in the founding of 3D printing companies is an emphasis on democratizing accessibility to additive manufacturing, and thereMcor Technologiesis no different. Founded by a couple of highly experienced mechanical engineers, Mcor meets the challenge of efficient 3D printing with the Matrix 300+. Whats special about the Matrix is that it uses paper and a water-based adhesive to create its objects, so its a more eco-friendly process than many others.

Similar to Mcors method of stacking layers of paper,Solido3Duses layers of PVC and a special adhesive to create physical objects. The models from the SD300 Pro are rather rigid and can be used to test fits and the workability of mechanical parts. These systems are ideal for RD purposes as the creations are functional but unattractive compared to that of competitors, but theyre supposedly also more affordable to operate.

When it comes to affordable professional printing though,Asigamakes an impression. This is a small group of creative minds made up of designers, programmers, and engineers trying to do their part in increasing the accessibility of high quality 3D printing. Considering all of their models are under $10,000, they seem to be accomplishing their goal. Asiga calls their printers the Freeform Pico and Pico Plus, where the Plus delivers larger pieces with greater detail. Whats important to note is that these are desktop sized models that produce professional resolution prints by using a patent pending sliding separation method, so theyre ideal for dental fixtures, jewelry, and even gears.

In Europe, but serving the globe, isvoxeljet. voxeljet offers systems and services, with their systems ranging from the copy-machine sized VX200 to the room sized VX4000 with a build envelope of 4 x 2 x 1 meter, and has continuous print capability, as do some of their smaller printers. With such large build volumes, batches of objects are entirely possible. The materials available are from high-resolution plastics and silica sand thats ideal for later metal casting. Their services include runs of sand and PMMA prototyping and production runs, as well as casting in aluminum, steel, copper, and other metal alloys. 3D Systems is the North American distributor of voxeljet.

The German companyEOSwas founded in 1989, and theyve been delivering quality ever since. EOS uses Laser Sintering for producing ergonomic objects in plastic, sand, and with the EOSINT M 280, even metals for tooling, prototyping, and end product runs. As well, EOS also employs Micro Laser Sintering for projects that require extra-fine precision, like medical equipment and electronics. With these technologies EOS serves several major markets, including aerospace, medical, tooling, and automotive. Training, maintenance, and software are also provided.

With the vision of revolutionizing the art of manufacturing,Arcamwas incorporated in 1997, and is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Arcams Electron Beam Melting (EBM) method took years to develop; taking place in a heated vacuum, the process involves melting metal powders a layer at a time with an electron beam and creates parts that are mechanically and chemically sound. With the Arcam A2, these parts can be quite complex, made from Titanium, steel, Aluminum, and even Beryllium, and are used in aerospace and defense, medical applications, and industrial settings. Arcam manufactures and distributes their EBM machines and metal powders.

Whether for increased performance or reduced fuel consumption, the aerospace industry is highly concerned with weight reduction, so 3D printing is ideal for producing sturdy parts with intricate geometries. From passenger planes to ballistic missiles, Arcam supplies the means to print reliable internal components and external housings. Their EBM technology allows the production of high-resolution, light-weight materials with advanced lattice structures that cost significantly less than those produced conventionally.

The medical implant field is growing rapidly and Arcam has a hand in the advancement of such

devices with the Arcam A1. With implants, rapid production is important for testing, as well as completely customizable shapes, densities, and porosities; this is where EBM shines. Arcams trademarked Trabecular Structures can be created in one print, varying from solid, porous, or a combination of both, and can emulate bone flexibility. Appropriate porosity ensures effective osseointegration, and adjustable pore geometry and size maximizes control. Such pieces have been used in hip, shoulder, and spinal implants.

Arcam also does a lot of RD on additive manufacturing and the academic world has been applying EBM to material characterization and powder metallurgy.

ExOnewas founded in 2005, spun off of the Extrude Hone Corporation to focus on 3D printing and micromachining. With machines like the S-Max that can print sand objects as large as 1800 x 1000 x 700 mm and the M-print in metal at 780 x 400 x 400 mm, ExOne has vast capabilities. ExOne even has machines that print in glass (M-Lab). Their Digital Part Materialization takes digital files all the way to useable components for cooling and porting functions, and prototyping and short production runs. With Orion short pulse laser manufacturing they can also handle micromachining. Services all also offered, from training to materials development to casting.

Arcam, founded in 1997, provides a leading technology for Additive Manufacturing of fully dense metal parts, Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

3D Systems is a leading, global provider of 3D content-to-print solutions including personal, professional and production 3D printers, integrated print materials and on-demand custom parts services for professionals and consumers alike.

The inventors and manufacturers of the Worlds first affordable high resolution 3D printer, the Freeform Pico.

Their SHS™ technology delivers professional plastic 3D models comparable to laser sintering quality more simple and affordable,

Dimension 3D Printers use Stratasys FDM prototyping technology to create 3D models. These 3D Printers are meant for office use, for on-site creation of working 3D models. Models produced with the HP Designjet Color 3D Printer are durable and precise. They meet your expectations in terms of form, fit, and function. You can print single-color parts that better highlight features when assembled. And you can count on printed output thats always true to your original design

envisionTEC develops, produces and sells Computer Aided Modeling Devices (CAMOD), including hardware, software, and materials. We offer innovative solutions in Solid Freeform Fabrication for end users.

This German company uses Laser Sintering for producing ergonomic objects in plastic, sand, and with the EOSINT M 280, even metals for tooling, prototyping, and end product runs. As well, EOS also employs Micro Laser Sintering for projects that require extra-fine precision.

ExOne is fouced on 3D printing and micromachining. With machines like the S-Max that can print sand objects as large as 1800 x 1000 x 700 mm and the M-print in metal at 780 x 400 x 400 mm, ExOne has vast capabilities. ExOne even has machines that print in glass (M-Lab).

Fortus 3D manufacturing systems are the industry standard for 3D engineering. Using the Stratasys pattented FDM technology, FORTUS 3D systems, deliver precision manufacturing output.

Mcors mission with the Matrix is to bring 3D printing to the masses and to make 3D printing as easy as printing on paper. The Matrix 300 has a new sleek design with an improved user friendly interface making 3D printing easier than ever.

Objet Ltd. is a leading provider of high quality, cost effective inkjet-based 3D printing systems and materials which are ideal for any company involved in the manufacture or design of physical products using 3D software or other 3D content. In 2012 they merged with Stratasys, creating the largest 3D printer company in the world under the symbol SSYS.

Cubic makes the SD300, an office-friendly, network compatible printer that allows you to build your 3D models right at your workstation.

Solidscape is the leading manufacturer of high-precision 3D printers, materials and software for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing, able to print solid models designed in CAD.

Stratasys invented and patented FDM, Fused Deposition Modeling. FDM technology has led to 3D prototyping and 3D printing, which enables users to create 3D prototypes and real end user parts.

voxeljet offers systems and services, with their systems ranging from the copy-machine sized VX200 to the room sized VX4000, and has continuous print capability, as do some of their smaller printers.

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Make: Magazine Shootout Names Top 10 3D Printers

bySarah Anderson GoehrkeNov 7, 20143D Printers3D Printing

3D printers are everywhere! Theyve been around for a little while now, of course, with favorites from MakerBot, Formlabs, and others for home use, but now theyre also popping up from established manufacturers of inkjet printers like HP and even toolmakers, as weve seen with Dremel. This array of selections for all uses, from desktop home hobby use to industrial-scale critical components manufacturing, is fantastic and confusing. After all, when you only had one choice, it was pretty easy to figure out where to buy your 3D printer. But now? Where do you go, how do you narrow it down?

Fortunately, you dont have to do it by yourself. Theres no going blind now, which is especially useful if youre thinking about picking up a 3Dprinter in time for the holiday season, either as a gift in itself or in order to create some baubles for your list. With plenty of time left before the holidays hit in force,Make: magazinehas come up with a list of 10 standout 3D printers across a few different categories.

Weve mentionedthe magazines parametersset for the 2015 shoot out, in which 3D printers were run through their paces by printing the same objects. These objects tested printers dimensional accuracy, surface finish, overhang capabilities, and more.

All this was done in anticipation of theUltimate 3D Printing Guide 2015, which will be available starting today, Friday, November 7, at the Engadget EXPAND event at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, running through tomorrow. Print issue pre-orders and PDFs of the guide are $9.99 (or $16.99 for print and PDF) atMakerShed. It will also appear in stores November 25 for those who can wait a little longer.

Its certainly been an inventive and exciting year in the 3D printing world, and it looks like its still just getting started.

2014 has been a full-throttle year for 3D printing since Januarys Consumer Electronics Show (CES) introduced us to dozens of new machines. Its clear that additive fabrication has caught the attention of major brands in all sectors (Adobe, Microsoft, Hasbro, Dremel and even Arduino) and the push for the mainstreaming of this technology has hit new heights, said Anna Kaziunas France, digital fabrication editor for Make: magazine. The field of printers we tested this year represent a departure from last year with a number of new entries from across the globe. Weve seen 3D printers from Asia and New Zealand, and at Rome Maker Faire in October, there were dozens of 3D printers introduced.

The review team for the guide included 3D printing experts who put the printers through their paces in Youngstown, Ohio to come up with their top contenders. Youngstown may not seem like the most obvious choice for the meeting, but its an important place in manufacturing, so a bunch of people meeting to talk about manufacturing really only makes sense.

This year, we created a publishing event for our annual 3D printer shootout and conducted the testing at the home of America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a government-supported initiative to support 3D printing and manufacturing, said Jason Babler, creative director of Make: magazine. As manufacturing returns to America in part driven by 3D printer technology what more relevant location than a city in the industrial belt?

France was excitedabout the team of experts assembled; some have now been on the test team for all three annual shootouts. She noted some of their newer names as valuable additions to the team: With the addition of 3D-printing research scientist Andreas Bastain, our test methods advanced from mere visual inspections of Thingiverse objects. We drafted a flexible evaluation protocol and created parametric models that could be quickly adapted to any unexpected situation. These preparations, combined with the onsite, real-time, data-crunching diligence of Kacie Hultgren (aka Pretty Small Things) has yielded quantified comparison data that we could only dream of previously.

Without further ado, their top printers (and their manufacturers):

Best in Shootout:Ultimaker 2(Ultimaker) Undisputed best scores in print-quality tests

Rookie of the Year:BeeTheFirst(BeeVeryCreative) An easy-to-use, attractive, portable machine

Reliable Performer:Afinia(Afinia 3D Printer) A solid bet for the third year running

Most Maker Machine:LulzBot TAZ 4(LulzBot) Everything a maker wants

Happy Mediums:Ditto Pro(Tinkerine) &Zortrax(Zortrax) Not quite top of the charts, but high quality prints

Smart Software Integration:DeltaMaker(DeltaMaker) Seamless integration of OctoPrint

Most Upgradable:Ultimaker Original+(Ultimaker) Continual support and available upgrades

Thin Wallet Win:Printrbot Simple Metal(Printrbot) Affordable and tied for 2ndfor print quality

Feature Packed:Replicator 5thGen(MakerBot) Flagship machine full of shiny new tech

3D printing is only getting bigger, and guides like this will keep us all apprised of the newest goings on, as well as doing the side-by-side comparisons that we cant do on our own.

This was an incredible effort by everyone on our team of testers who represent a cross-section of 3D printing gurus, from engineers to designers and artists to technology and 3D printing instructors, said France.

What do you think? Would your top 10 3D printers match up with Make: magazines? Were these who you expected to see in the list of leaders, or would you put another spin on it? Let us know in theTop 10 3D Printer forumthread on .

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25 Best Types of 3D Printer Filament Comparison Charts

This first category introduces the six most commonly used 3D printer filaments in desktop 3D printing, popular for their ease of use and their physical properties.

In addition to providing general information for each of the following filaments, this section also attempts to present a comparison of their properties, as well as suggest in which situations they might be used.

In the realm of home 3D printing,polylactic acid (PLA)is king. Although its often compared to ABS next in line to the throne PLA is easily the most popular 3D printer filament, and for good reason.

First and foremost, its easy to print with. PLA has a lower printing temperature than ABS, and it doesnt warp as easily, meaning it doesnt require a heating bed (although it definitely helps). Another benefit to using PLA is that it doesnt give off an evil smell during printing. Its generally considered an odorless filament, but many have reported smelling sweet, candy-like fumes. Finally, as a biodegradable thermoplastic, PLA is more environmentally friendly than most 3D printer filaments, being made from annually renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane.

Like ABS, PLA is the base material used in many exotic or recreational filaments, such as those with conductive or glow-in-the-dark properties, or those infused with wood or metal.

To see further comparisons between PLA and ABS, check out the following article: PLA vs ABS: Filaments for 3D Printing Explained & Compared.

Strength: High Flexibility: Low Durability: Medium

Print bed temperature: 20C 60C (but not needed)

Food safety: Refer to manufacturer guidelines

When should I use PLA 3D printer filament?

In this case, the better question might be, When shouldnt I use PLA? Compared to other types of 3D printer filament, PLA is brittle, so avoid using it when making items that might be bent, twisted, or dropped repeatedly, such as phone cases, high-wear toys, or tool handles. You should also avoid using it with items which need to withstand higher temperatures, as PLA tends to malform around temperatures of 60C or higher. For all other applications, PLA makes for a good overall choice in filament. Common prints include models, low-wear toys, prototype parts, and containers.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)ranks as the second most popular 3D printer filament, after PLA. But that just means its the second most commonly used. With respect to its material properties, ABS is actually moderately superior to PLA, despite being slightly more difficult to print with. Its for this reason that ABS is found in many manufactured household and consumer goods, including LEGO bricks and bicycle helmets!

Products made of ABS boast high durability and a capacity to withstand high temperatures, but 3D printer enthusiasts should be mindful of the filaments high printing temperature, tendency to warp during cooling, and intense fumes. Be sure to print with a heating bed, and in a well-ventilated space.

Strength: High Flexibility: Medium Durability: High

Soluble: In esters, ketones, and acetone

When should I use ABS 3D printer filament?

ABS is tough able to withstand high stress and temperature. Its also moderately flexible. Together these properties make ABS a good general-purpose 3D printer filament, but where it really shines is with items that are frequently handled, dropped, or heated. Examples include phone cases, high-wear toys, tool handles, automotive trim components, and electrical enclosures.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)is the most commonly used plastic in the world. Best known as the polymer used in water bottles, it is also found in clothing fibres and food containers.

While raw PET is rarely used in 3D printing, its variant PETG is a popular 3D printer filament. The G stands for glycol-modified, and the result is a filament which is clearer, less brittle, and most importantly, easier to use than its base form. For this reason, PETG is often considered a good middle ground between ABS and PLA, the two most commonly used 3D printer filaments, as it is more flexible and durable than PLA and easier to print than ABS.

Three things 3D printer enthusiasts should keep in mind when using PETG:

PETG is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. As this has a negative effect on printing, make sure to store the 3D printer filament in a cool, dry place.

PETG is sticky during printing, making this 3D printer filament a poor choice for support structures, but good for layer adhesion. (Just be careful with the print bed!)

Though not brittle, PETG scratches more easily than ABS.

For more information on this 3D printer filament, check out our in-depth article on PETG here.

Polyethylene coTrimethylene Terephthalate (PETT) is another PET variant. Slightly more rigid than PETG, this 3D printer filament is popular for being transparent.

3D Printer Filament Properties: PETG (PET, PETT)

Strength: High Flexibility: Medium Durability: High

Food safety: Refer to manufacturer guidelines

When should I use PETG 3D printer filament?

PETG is a good all-rounder but stands out from many other filaments due to its flexibility, strength, and temperature and impact resistance. This makes it an ideal 3D printer filament to use for objects which might experience sustained or sudden stress, like mechanical parts, printer parts, and protective components.

Nylon, a popular family of synthetic polymers used in many industrial applications, is the heavyweight champion of the 3D printing world. Compared to most other filaments, it ranks as the number one contender when together considering strength, flexibility, and durability.

Another unique characteristic of this 3D printer filament is that you can dye it, either before or after the printing process. The negative side to this is that nylon, like PETG, is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture, so remember to store it in a cool, dry place to ensure better quality prints.

In general, many grades of nylon exist, but among the most common for use as 3D printer filaments are 618 and 645.

3D Printer Filament Properties: Nylon

Strength: High Flexibility: High Durability: High

Food safety: Refer to manufacturer guidelines

When should I use nylon 3D printer filament?

Taking advantage of nylons strength, flexibility, and durability use this 3D printer filament to create tools, functional prototypes, or mechanical parts (like hinges, buckles, or gears).

As the name implies,thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)are essentially plastics with rubber-like qualities, making them extremely flexible and durable. As such, TPE is commonly found in automotive parts, household appliances, and medical supplies.

In reality, TPE is a broad class of copolymers (and polymer mixtures), but it is nonetheless used to label many commercially available 3D printer filaments. Soft and stretchable, these filaments can withstand punishment that neither ABS nor PLA can tolerate. On the other hand, printing is not always easy, as TPE can be difficult to extrude.

Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a particular variety of TPE, and is itself a popular 3D printer filament. Compared to generic TPE, TPU is slightly more rigid making it easier to print. Its also a little more durable and can better retain its elasticity in the cold.

Thermoplastic copolyester (TPC) is another variety of TPE, though not as commonly used as TPU. Similar in most respects to TPE, TPCs main advantage is its higher resistance to chemical and UV exposure, as well to heat (up to 150C).

3D Printer Filament Properties: TPE, TPU, TPC (Flexible)

Strength: Medium Flexibility: Very High Durability: Very High

Difficulty to use: Medium (TPE, TPC); Low (TPU)

Print bed temperature: 30C 60C (but not needed)

When should I use TPE, TPU, or TPC 3D printer filament?

Use TPE or TPU when creating objects that need to take a lot of wear. If your print should bend, stretch, or compress, these are the right 3D printer filaments for the job. Example prints might include toys, phone cases, or wearables (like wristbands). TPC can be used in the same contexts, but does especially well in harsher environments, like the outdoors.

Polycarbonate (PC), in addition to being the strongest 3D printer filament presented in this list, is extremely durable and resistant to both physical impact and heat, able to withstand temperatures of up to 110C. Its also transparent, which explains its use in commercial items such as bullet proof glass, scuba masks, and electronic display screens.

Despite some similar use cases, PC shouldnt be confused with acrylic or plexi-glass, which shatter or crack under stress. Unlike these two materials, PC is moderately flexible (though not as much as nylon, for example), allowing it to bend until eventually it deforms.

PC 3D printer filament is hygroscopic, able to absorb water from the air, so remember to store it in a cool, dry place to ensure better quality prints.

3D Printer Filament Properties: PC (Polycarbonate)

Strength: Very High Flexibility: Medium Durability: Very High

When should I use PC 3D printer filament?

Due to its physical properties, PC is an ideal 3D printer filament for parts that need to retain their strength, toughness, and shape in high-temperature environments, such as electrical, mechanical, or automotive components. Also try to take advantage of its optical clarity in lighting projects or for screens.

Interested in printing objects that look and feel like wood? Well, you can! Its not really wood of course that wouldnt make for a very good 3D printer filament its PLA infused with wood fiber.

Many wood-PLA 3D printer filament blends exist on the market today. These include the more standard wood varieties, such Pine, Birch, Cedar, Ebony, and Willow, but the range also extends itself to less common types, like Bamboo, cherry, Coconut, Cork, and Olive.

As with other 3D printer filaments, there is a trade-off with using wood. In this case, aesthetic and tactile appeal comes at the cost of reduced flexibility and strength.

Be careful with the temperature at which you print wood, as too much heat can result in an almost burnt or caramelized appearance. On the other hand, the base appearance of your wooden creations can be greatly improved with a little post-print processing!

When should I use wood 3D printer filament?

Wood is popular with items that are appreciated less for their functional capabilities, and more for their appearance. Consider using wood 3D printer filament when printing objects that are displayed on a desk, table, or shelf. Examples include bowls, figurines, and awards. One really creative application of wood as a 3D printer filament is in the creation of scale models, such as those used in architecture.

Maybe youre looking for a different type of aesthetic in your prints something a little bulkier and shinier. Well, for that you can usemetal. Like wood 3D printer filament, metal filament isnt really metal. Its actually a mix of metal powder and either PLA or ABS. But that doesnt stop the results from having the look and feel of metal. Even the weight is metal-like, as blends tend to be several times denser than pure PLA or ABS.

Bronze, brass, copper, aluminum, and stainless steel are just a few of the varieties of metal 3D printer filament which are commercially available. And if theres a specific look youre interested in, dont be afraid to polish, weather, or tarnish your metal items after printing.

You may need to replace your nozzle a little sooner as a result of printing with metal, as the grains are somewhat abrasive, resulting in increased nozzle wear.

The most common 3D printer filament blends tend to be around 50% metal powder and 50% PLA or ABS, but blends also exist that are up to 85% metal. For more information on these filaments, and how to use them, take a look at our Complete Guide to Metal 3D Printing.

When should I use metal 3D printer filament?

Metal can be used to print for aesthetics and for function. Figurines, models, toys, and tokens can all look great printed in metal. And as long as they dont have to deal with too much stress, feel free to use metal 3D printer filament to create parts with purpose, like tools, grates, or finishing components.

Biodegradable3D printer filaments make up a unique category, as their most valuable characteristic does not lie in their physical natures. As most hobbyists can attest to, not every print turns out the way you want it to, and this results in having to throw away a ton of plastic. Biodegradable filaments seek to negate the environmental impact this has on our planet.

As was mentioned earlier in this article, PLA is in fact a biodegradable filament, but others include twoBEars bioFila line and Biome3D, by Biome Bioplastics.

When should I use biodegradable 3D printer filament?

Regardless of their primary reason for existing, biodegradable filaments often produce items of sound physical quality. Use them any time you dont have specific requirements for strength, flexibility, or endurance. And if you really want to take advantage of the guilt-free printing biodegradable filaments offer, try using them in projects which require prototyping.

With so many strong, flexible, and durable 3D printer filament types available, structural and mechanical projects are everywhere, it seems. Enterconductive3D printer filaments. Time for electrical and computer engineers to join the fun!

With the addition of conductive carbon particulates to PLA or ABS, its easy to realize dreams of printing low-voltage electronic circuits. Just couple a conductive 3D printer filament with an ordinary PLA or ABS in a dual-extrusion machine.

When should I use conductive 3D printer filament?

Even though this 3D printer filament only supports low-voltage circuitry, the skys the limit with customized electronics projects. If youre experimenting, try coupling a circuit board with LEDs, sensors, or even a Raspberry Pi! If youre looking for something a little more specific, popular ideas include gaming controllers, digital keyboards, and trackpads.

Glow-in-the-dark3D printer filament pretty self-explanatory. Leave your print in the light for a while, then flick the switch and behold that eerie green glow.

It doesnt have to be green, of course. It can also be blue, red, pink, yellow, or orange. But green is so cool

So, how does it work? It all comes down to the phospherescent materials mixed in with the PLA or ABS base. Thanks to these added materials, a glow-in-the-dark 3D printer filament is able to absorb and later emit photons, which are kind of like tiny particles of light. This is why your prints will only glow after being in the light they have to store the energy before they can release it.

For best results, consider printing with thick walls and little infill. The thicker your walls, the stronger the glow!

When should I use glow-in-the-dark 3D printer filament?

Thinking about that eerie green glow, it almost doesnt even seem necessary to suggest using a glow-in-the-dark 3D printer filament for Halloween projects, like jack-o-lanterns or window decorations. Other examples of where these filaments really shine er, glow include wearables (think jewellery), toys, and figurines.

Are metal and conductive prints not exciting enough for you? Okay then, how aboutmagneticprints? This exotic 3D printer filament, based in PLA or ABS and infused with powdered iron, features a grainy, gunmetal finish, and of course, it sticks to magnets!

One thing to note: Despite the name, this 3D printer filament is actually ferromagnetic, meaning that while it is attracted to magnetic fields, it has no fields of its own. In other words, the objects you print may stick to magnets, but they wont actually be magnets.

When should I use magnetic 3D printer filament?

Use this type of 3D printer filament whenever you want your prints to stick to something magnetic. Ornaments (especially for the fridge) are the most obvious example, but why not incorporate some magnetism into toys or tools?

Remember those T-shirts from the 80s, the ones that would change color based on body temperature? Or how about mood rings? Well, this is the same deal, because color-changing 3D printer filaments also change color based on changes in heat.

Filaments from this category tend to change between two colors, for example from purple to pink, blue to green, or yellow to green.

As with other exotic 3D printer filaments, color-changing filament exists in blends of both PLA and ABS.

When should I use color-changing 3D printer filament?

With no special physical, tactile, or functional characteristics, this type of 3D printer filament is purely good for aesthetics. Use it whenever you would normally use PLA or ABS, but desire that extra visual flare. Good candidate projects include phone cases, wearables, toys, and containers. (Athorbot Couple can print color-changing objects by using normal filament. Wanna try?)

When 3D printer filaments like PLA, ABS, PETG, and nylon are reinforced withcarbon fiber,the result is an extremely stiff and rigid material with relatively little weight. Such compounds shine in structural applications that must withstand a wide variety of end-use environments.

The trade-off is the increased wear and tear on your printers nozzle, especially if its made of a soft metal like brass. Even as little as 500 grams of this exotic 3D printer filament will noticeably increase the diameter of a brass nozzle, so unless you enjoy frequently replacing your nozzle, consider using one made of (or coated with) a harder material.

When should I use carbon fiber 3D printer filament?

Thanks to its structural strength and low density, carbon fiber is a fantastic candidate for mechanical components. Looking to replace a part in your model car or plane? Give this 3D printer filament a try.

Polycarbonate ABS alloy (PC-ABS)is a tough thermoplastic, combining the strength and heat resistance of polycarbonate with the flexibility of ABS. Commonly found in automotive, electronics, and telecommunications applications, it is one of the most widely used industrial thermoplastics in the world.

When used as a 3D printer filament, the same benefits apply, but the trade-off is a slightly more complicated printing process. First, because PC-ABS is hygroscopic, its recommended to bake it before printing. Second, it requires a high printing temperature (of at least 260C). Third, it tends to warp, so a high print bed temperature is also necessary (of at least 100C).

In the commercial world,high impact polystyrene (HIPS) a copolymer that combines the hardness of polystyrene and the elasticity of rubber is commonly found in protective packaging and containers, like CD cases.

In the world of 3D printing, HIPS typically plays a different role. 3D printers cant print onto thin air. Overhangs require some underlying structure, and this is where HIPS really shines. When paired with ABS in a dual extrusion printer, HIPS is an excellent support material. Simply fill any gaps in your design with this 3D printer filament, then melt it away by immersing the finished product in limonene, a colorless liquid hydrocarbon.

Avoid using HIPS with other 3D printer filaments, as they can be damaged by limonene, whereas ABS is left unscathed. HIPS and ABS print well together in any case, being of similar strength, stiffness, and requiring a comparable print temperature.

In fact, despite its primary use as a support material, HIPS is a decent 3D printer filament in its own right. It is stronger than both PLA or ABS, warps less than ABS, and it can be easily glued, sanded, and painted.

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)is soluble in water, and thats exactly what commercial applications take advantage of. Popular uses include packaging for dishwasher detergent pods or bags full of fishing bait. (Throw the bag in water and watch it dissolve, releasing the bait.)

The same principal applies in 3D printing, making PVA a great support material when paired with another 3D printer filament in a dual extrusion printer. The advantage of using PVA over HIPS is that it can be printed with more than just ABS. Common substitutes include PLA and nylon.

The trade-off is a 3D printer filament that is slightly more difficult to print with. One must also be careful when storing it, as even the moisture in the atmosphere can damage the filament prior to printing.

Want to print something in real brass, tin, or some other metal? Well, you can! Kind of In reality youll be printing a mold using awax 3D printer filament. But after a few extra steps, your design really can come to shiny, metally life.

The process is called lost-wax or investment casting, and it more-or-less works like this:

Create a positive wax mold, i.e. a wax replica of what you want the final metal product to look like.

Dip the mold in plaster and let it dry.

Put the wax-plaster object in an oven. At a high enough temperature, the wax will melt away, leaving a negative space within the plaster, in which the metal product can be cast.

Wax 3D printer filament makes the first step easy, as one would normally have to carve the mold out of pure wax.

Dominating the wax 3D printer filament arena is MOLDLAY, by Kai Parthy CC Products. When using this or similar wax-like materials, keep in mind that they are much softer than most 3D printer filaments. Among other precautions, it may be necessary to modify your extruder and layer your print bed with an adhesive.

Sure,ABSis great, but it has its flaws. Thats why plastics manufacturers are always looking for alternatives. One such alternative is acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA), originally developed to be more resistant to weather effects. Hence its primary use in the automotive industry.

In addition to being a 3D printer filament that is strong, rigid, and relatively easy to print with, ASA is also extremely resistant to chemical exposure, heat, and mostly importantly, changes in shape and color. Prints made of ABS have a tendency to erode or to yellow if left outdoors. Such is not the case with ASA. For anything from birdhouses to custom garden gnomes, look no further than this 3D printer filament.

Another minor benefit to using ASA over ABS is that it warps less during printing. But be careful with how you adjust your cooling fan; ASA can easily crack if things get a little too windy (during printing).

Polypropylene (PP)is tough, flexible, light, chemically resistant, and food safe, which might explain its broad range of applications, including engineering plastics, food packaging, textiles, and bank notes.

Unfortunately, as a 3D printer filament, PP is notoriously difficult to print with, presenting heavy warping and poor layer adhesion. If not for these issues, PP would likely contend with PLA for most popular 3D printer filament, given its strong mechanical and chemical properties.

Interestingly, since many household objects are made of PP, its actually possible to recycle old junk and turn it into new 3D printer filament.

Polyoxymethylene (POM), also referred as acetal and Delrin, is well known for its use as an engineering plastic, for example in parts which move or require high precision. Such parts include gears, bearings, camera focusing mechanisms, and zippers.

POM performs exceptionally well in these types of applications due to its strength, rigidity, resistance to wear, and most importantly, its low coefficient of friction. Its thanks to this last property that POM makes such a great 3D printer filament. For most of the filaments in this list, there is a significant gap between what is made in industry and what you can make at home with your 3D printer. For POM, this gap is somewhat smaller; the slippery nature of this material means prints can be nearly as functional as mass-produced parts.

Make sure to use a print bed when printing with POM 3D printer filament, as the first layer doesnt always want to stick.

Ever heard ofpolymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)? Maybe not. What about acrylic, or Plexiglas? Thats right, were talking about the same material thats most often used as a lightweight, shatter-resistant alternative to glass.

Rigid, impact resistant, and transparent, use this 3D printer filament for anything that should diffuse light, whether thats a replacement window pane or a colorful toy. Just dont use it to make anything that should bend, as PMMA is not very flexible.

3D printing with PMMA 3D printer filament can be a little difficult. To prevent warping and to maximize clarity, extrusion must be consistent, which requires a high nozzle temperature. It might also help to enclose the print chamber in order to better regulate cooling.

Unlike the other filaments in this list,cleaning3D printer filament is not used to print objects, but to clean 3D printer extruders. Its purpose is to remove any material in the hot end that might have been left over from previous prints. Though a good general practice, using cleaning 3D printer filament is especially useful when transitioning between materials that have different print temperatures or colors.

The general procedure involves manually feeding cleaning 3D printer filament into a heated print head to force out the old material, then cooling the hot end slightly and yanking the filament back out again. For more detailed instructions, take a look at the manufacturers information for the specific filament youre using.

Print temperature depends on whatever 3D printer filaments you used before, as well as on the one you want to use next. (Cleaning 3D printer filament is stable anywhere between 150 and 280C.)

Its not typically necessary to use more than 10 cm of filament at a time.

Other methods of cleaning exist, including the popular cold pull technique, which is similar to the above procedure and does not require cleaning 3D printer filament.

Flexible polyester (FPE)is a generic label given to a 3D printer filament that combines rigid and soft polymers. Such filaments are comparable to PLA, but are softer and more flexible. The specific flexibility depends on the hard and soft polymers used, and on the ratio between them.

Two notable aspects of FPE include good layer-to-layer adhesion and a moderately high resistance to heat and a variety of chemical compounds. Given the wide range of FPE 3D printer filament that is available, perhaps the most useful way to differentiate between the wide range of FPE available is the Shore value (like 85A or 60D), where a higher number indicates less flexibility.

As evidenced by this article, plastic tends to dominate 3D printing as the primary print material. Weve explored some other options already, and heres one more to add to the list: ceramic. More specifically, clay ceramic.

Basically, ceramic (or pottery) is produced through the baking of a raw substance,claybeing the most commonly used. Food-safe, recyclable, and water-tight, ceramic is a great material to use for cups, plates, statues, or figurines.

Unfortunately, printing a green object the clay version of a design which must then be baked in a kiln, requires a special kind of 3D printer. Several of these printers exist on the market today, but if these devices fall outside your price range, consider instead one of the several online printing services.

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Survival Of The Fittest: The Printing World Evolution

Why Is Offset Printing In Dubai Becoming Popular?

Quite a few forms of manufacturing are in existence today, all while 3D printing is just now gaining momentum. How do each of these styles of manufacturing compare to 3D printing? Read more to find out.

Technology has consistently been advancing as time progresses, and manufacturing is definitely oneo f those technologies. Typically, things have been made by one of three methods. First, many people have been creating parts by hand. Specialists in shops have been carving pieces, gluing pieces together, sanding them, and painting them. Work with various tools has created some crude, and some intricate pieces. Second, quite a few people have been jumping into various types of molding & casting for their manufacturing needs. Some of these methods have been around for hundreds of years; think of a blacksmith making weaponry. This technology still exists today through various niches of casting, including jewelry, modern day casting, and mold manufacturing. Third, various forms of machining has been around for at least one hundred years. People using saws, drills, and machinery to remove material of certain pieces is definitely a popular process. It is a very popular process for truly custom pieces, just like hand made parts. These forms of manufacturing have definitely served their own purposes, but I want to talk about a new form of manufacturing that is already starting to blow the doors off these traditional forms of manufacturing. I want to talk to you about 3D printing.

First off, what is 3D printing? This manufacturing technology, simply put, is the creation of products layer by layer. 3D printing is often referred to as additive manufacturing. What is so significant about 3D printing? First off, this technology can create pretty much anything. A machine will create products through an automated process known as CAM, or computer aided manufacturing. Essentially, if a product can be designed on the computer, it can be created through a 3D printer. When a printer receives the design, it will begin to create the product according to the design in a layer by layer process. Let me compare 3D printing to the 3 types of manufacturing that were listed earlier.

Comparing 3d printing to creating pieces by hand is very interesting. Sure, some positive factors will come through hand making pieces. Artwork in particular stands out above 3D printing in some senses, however not all. Many artists and sculptors have been designing models to create through 3D printing. Quite honestly, 3D printing can create quite a bit more than what an artist could make by hand. Due to the layer by layer process, detailed centers can come about in a product whilst an artist hand carving or making a piece couldnt even get inside of a product to work on it.

The same thing applies to machining. If a model has an intricate center, it will be very difficult to replicate without 3D printing. A drill has a hard enough time creating organic curves, and still struggles with that. What about detailed centers? Machining simply doesnt hold up.

Mold manufacturing can offer some cool pieces, especially on a mass produced level. However, some models simply cant be made due to detailed centers. The molds cant even be manufactured!

3D printing sticks out in the manufacturing world for being able to create a wide variety of intricate centers, organic curves, high levels of intricacy, and truly unique pieces.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to learn about3D Model Printing, or possibly youd like to join a3D PrintingCommunity.

Comparison Chart of New Canon Printers iPF680iPF685iPF780iPF785

Recycled Content Plain Paper for Inkjet

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Learn more about plotters, plotter paper, and new products and new printing technologies.

Comparison Chart of New Canon Printers iPF680, iPF685, iPF780, iPF,785

Canon imagePROGRAF Products Comparison Chart

Each of Canons all-new imagePROGRAF line of large-format printers have many similarities, but a few key differences which may be of critical importance to your printing application.

Each of the new iPF large-format 5-color printers provides fast, accurate high-speed printing. The new models turn out D-sized prints in as little as 21 seconds, and E-size prints in only 41 seconds.

With welcome upgrades to the stacking system on the iPF680 and iPF685, the entire imagePROGRAF line allows stacking for up to 100 plain paper prints. Upgrading to the optional 300mL ink cartridges cuts downtime from replacing spent ink by more than half and provides the added benefit of lower ink materials cost per milliliter.

Some large-format printing customers will appreciate the convenience of having a high-capacity on-board hard drive built into the printer. The iPF685, iPF785 and iPF785MFP each include a 320GB hard drive with 32GB of buffer RAM dedicated to image file processing, perfect for complex 3D and GIS drawings.

These printers are perfect for firms where multiple workstations must share one printer, allowing advanced error recovery and support for tracking up to 500 jobs.

Smaller printing customers may not require the multi-user benefits of having a built-in hard drive. The iPF680, iPF780 and iPF780MFP do not include an on-board hard drive, but do include 256MB of buffer RAM for improved image processing.

Each of the new imagePROGRAF printers provides maximum printing resolution of 2400×1200 dpi on a roll feed of up to 59 feet and media thickness up to 5.9 inches. The iPF680 and iPF685 allow a maximum borderless printing width of 24 inches, while the iPF780, iPF780MFP, iPF785 and iPF785MFP give you extra-wide borderless printing widths up to 36-inches.

When scan-to-print is a necessity, the iPF780MFP and iPF785MFP provide a built-in Canon M40 wide-format scanner with 22-inch touch-screen interface. The M40 scanner lets you scan images up to 315 inches in length at a rate of 13 incher per second, and requires no warm-up time. The new Scan to PDF feature simplifies digitizing your archives.

Consult the chart below as well as the technical comparisons to help you choose the right Canon impagePROGRAF large-format printer from WAB Paper Supply.

New top of the line Canon iPF printer series offer many similarities. Though there are many features differentiating each printer useful to know for your business.

Buy Canon plotters and paper supplies online or contact the large-format printing experts at WAB Paper Supply with any questions about our products.

Specifications Comparison Table: New Canon imagePROGRAM iPF Printers

Total: 15,360 MBK: 5,120 nozzlesC, M, Y, BK: 2,560 nozzles each

Total: 15,360 MBK: 5,120 nozzles C, M, Y, BK: 2,560 nozzles each

Total: 15,360 MBK: 5,120 nozzlesC, M, Y, BK: 2,560 nozzles each

Total: 15,360MBK: 5,120 nozzles C, M, Y, BK: 2,560 nozzles each

Total: 15,360 MBK: 5,120 nozzlesC, M, Y, BK: 2,560 nozzles each

Total: 15,360MBK: 5,120 nozzles C, M, Y, BK: 2,560 nozzles each

1,200 dpi Non-firing nozzle detection and compensation

1,200 dpiNon-firing nozzle detection and compensation

1,200 dpiNon-firing nozzle detection and compensation

1,200 dpiNon-firing nozzle detection and compensation

1,200 dpiNon-firing nozzle detection and compensation

1,200 dpiNon-firing nozzle detection and compensation

Windows® (XP/Vista/7/8)Macintosh® (OSX 10.6.8-10.9X)

Windows® (XP/Vista/7/8)Macintosh® (OSX 10.6.8-10.9X)

Windows® (XP/Vista/7/8)Macintosh® (OSX 10.6.8-10.9X)

Windows® (XP/Vista/7/8)Macintosh® (OSX 10.6.8-10.9X)

Windows® (XP/Vista/7/8)Macintosh® (OSX 10.6.8-10.9X)

Windows® (XP/Vista/7/8)Macintosh® (OSX 10.6.8-10.9X)

USB 2.0 High-Speed10/100/1000 Base-T/TX

USB 2.0 High-Speed10/100/1000 Base-T/TX

USB 2.0 High-Speed10/100/1000 Base-T/TX

USB 2.0 High-Speed10/100/1000 Base-T/TX

USB 2.0 High-Speed10/100/1000 Base-T/TX

USB 2.0 High-Speed10/100/1000 Base-T/TX

4 picoliterDye/Pigment Reactive Ink

4 picoliterDye/Pigment Reactive Ink

4 picoliterDye/Pigment Reactive Ink

4 picoliterDye/Pigment Reactive Ink

4 picoliterDye/Pigment Reactive Ink

4 picoliterDye/Pigment Reactive Ink

Dye: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Pigment: Matte Black

Dye: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, BlackPigment: Matte Black

Dye: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Pigment: Matte Black

Dye: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Pigment: Matte Black

Dye: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Pigment: Matte Black

Dye: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Pigment: Matte Black

Cut Sheet – 8- 24 (203.2mm – 610mm) Roll Feed – 10 – 24 (254mm – 610mm)

Cut Sheet – 8- 24 (203.2mm – 610mm)Roll Feed – 10 – 24 (254mm ? 610mm)

Cut Sheet – 8- 36 (203.2mm – 914mm)Roll Feed – 10 – 36 (254mm – 914mm)

Cut Sheet – 8- 36 (203.2mm – 914mm)Roll Feed – 10 – 36 (254mm – 914mm)

Cut Sheet – 8- 36 (203.2mm – 914mm)Roll Feed – 10 – 36 (254mm – 914mm)

Cut Sheet – 8- 36 (203.2mm ? 914mm)Roll Feed ? 10? ? 36? (254mm ? 914mm)

Roll Feed – 59 (18 meters) 5Cut Sheet – 63 (1.6 meters)

Roll Feed – 59 (18 meters) 5 Cut Sheet – 63 (1.6 meters)

Roll Feed – 59 (18 meters) 5Cut Sheet – 63 (1.6 meters)

Roll Feed – 59 (18 meters) 5Cut Sheet – 63 (1.6 meters)

Roll Feed – 59 (18 meters) 5Cut Sheet – 63 (1.6 meters)

Roll Feed – 59? (18 meters) 5Cut Sheet ? 63? (1.6 meters)

10, B4, A3, 14, A2, 17, B2 (20.28/515 mm), A1 (23.38/594mm), 24

10, B4, A3, 14, A2, 17, B2 (20.28/515 mm), A1 (23.38/594mm), 24

10, B4, A3, 14, A2, 17, B2 (20.28/515 mm), A1 (23.38/594mm), 24, A0 (33.11/841mm), B1, 36

10, B4, A3, 14, A2, 17, B2 (20.28/515 mm), A1 (23.38/594mm), 24, A0 (33.11/841mm), B1, 36

10, B4, A3, 14, A2, 17, B2 (20.28/515 mm), A1 (23.38/594mm), 24, A0 (33.11/841mm), B1, 36

10, B4, A3, 14, A2, 17, B2 (20.28/515 mm), A1 (23.38/594mm), 24, A0 (33.11/841mm), B1, 36

Roll Feed: One Roll, Top-loading, Front output Cut Sheet: One sheet, Top loading, Front output

Roll Feed: One Roll, Top-loading, Front output Cut Sheet: One sheet, Top loading, Front output

Roll Feed: One Roll, Top-loading, Front outputCut Sheet: One sheet, Top loading, Front output

Roll Feed: One Roll, Top-loading, Front outputCut Sheet: One sheet, Top loading, Front output

Roll Feed: One Roll, Top-loading, Front outputCut Sheet: One sheet, Top loading, Front output

Roll Feed: One Roll, Top-loading, Front outputCut Sheet: One sheet, Top loading, Front output

Operation: 48 dB (A) or less Standby: 35 dB (A) or lessAcoustic Power: Approx. 6.5 Bels

Operation: 48 dB (A) or less Standby: 35 dB (A) or less Acoustic Power: Approx. 6.5 Bels

Operation: 48 dB (A) or less Standby: 35 dB (A) or less Acoustic Power: Approx. 6.5 Bels

Operation: 48 dB (A) or less Standby: 35 dB (A) or less Acoustic Power: Approx. 6.5 Bels

Operation: 48 dB (A) or less Standby: 35 dB (A) or less Acoustic Power: Approx. 6.5 Bels

Operation: 48 dB (A) or less .Standby: 35 dB (A) or less Acoustic Power: Approx. 6.5 Bels

42 (H) x 39 (W) x 35 (D) (When basket is open)42 (H) x 39 (W) x 43 (D) (When basket is extended for flatbed stacking)Box Dimensions/ Weight: 45 (H) x 44 (W) x 35 (D) Approximately 205 lbs

42 (H) x 39 (W) x 35 (D) (When basket is open)42 (H) x 39 (W) x 43 (D) (When basket is extended for flatbed stacking)Box Dimensions/ Weight: 45 (H) x 44 (W) x 35 (D)Approximately 205 lbs

42 (H) x 51 (W) x 35 (D) (When basket is open)42 (H) x 51 (W) x 43 (D) (When basket is extended for flatbed stacking)Box Dimensions/ Weight: 31 (H) x 56 (W) x 46 (D)Approximately 249 lbs

42 (H) x 51 (W) x 35 (D) (When basket is open)42 (H) x 51 (W) x 43 (D) (When basket is extended for flatbed stacking)Box Dimensions: 31 (H) x 56 (W) x 46 (D)

42 (H) x 51 (W) x 35 (D) (When basket is open)42 (H) x 51 (W) x 43 (D) (When basket is extended for flatbed stacking)Box Dimensions/ Weight: 31 (H) x 56 (W) x 46 (D)Approximately 249 lbs

42 (H) x 51 (W) x 35 (D) (When basket is open)42 (H) x 51 (W) x 43 (D) (When basket is extended for flatbed stacking)Box Dimensions: 31 (H) x 56 (W) x 46 (D)

Approximately 150lbs. with standBox Weight: Approximately 249 lbs

Approximately 150lbs. with standBox Weight: Approximately 249 lbs

Maximum: 140W or less Standby 5W or less Power Off: .5W or less (Compliant with Executive Order)

Maximum: 140W or less Standby 5W or less Power Off: .5W or less (Compliant with Executive Order)

Maximum: 140W or less Standby 5W or less Power Off: .5W or less (Compliant with Executive Order)

Maximum: 140W or less Standby 5W or less Power Off: .5W or less (Compliant with Executive Order)

Maximum: 140W or less Standby 5W or less Power Off: .5W or less (Compliant with Executive Order)

Maximum: 140W or less Standby 5W or less Power Off: .5W or less (Compliant with Executive Order)

Temperature: 59-86 F (15-30 C) Relative Humidity: 10-80% (No Condensation)

Temperature: 59-86 F (15-30 C)Relative Humidity: 10-80% (No Condensation)

Temperature: 59-86 F (15-30 C)Relative Humidity: 10-80% (No Condensation)

Temperature: 59-86 F (15-30 C)Relative Humidity: 10-80% (No Condensation)

Temperature: 59-86 F (15-30 C)Relative Humidity: 10-80% (No Condensation)

Temperature: 59-86 F (15-30 C)Relative Humidity: 10-80% (No Condensation)

Print Head: PF-04 Maintenance Cartridge: MC-10Ink Tanks: PFI-107 (130ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK), PFI-207 (300ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK)

Print Head: PF-04Maintenance Cartridge: MC-10Ink Tanks: PFI-107 (130ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK), PFI-207 (300ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK)

Print Head: PF-04, Maintenance Cartridge: MC-10, Ink Tanks: PFI-107 (130ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK), PFI-207 (300ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK)

Print Head: PF-04, Maintenance Cartridge: MC-10, Ink Tanks: PFI-107 (130ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK), PFI-207 (300ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK)

Print Head: PF-04, Maintenance Cartridge: MC-10, Ink Tanks: PFI-107 (130ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK), PFI-207 (300ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK)

Print Head: PF-04, Maintenance Cartridge: MC-10, Ink Tanks: PFI-107 (130ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK), PFI-207 (300ml: C, M, Y, BK, MBK)

Canon Printer Driver, Printer Driver Extra Kit (Free Layout, Color imageRUNNER Enlargement Copy, Advanced Preview), Direct Print & Share, imagePROGRAF Print Utility2, PosterArtist Lite (PC Only), Print Plug-in for Microsoft® Word/Excel/PowerPoint (PC only), Status Monitor, Media Configuration Tool, Optimized Module for AutoCAD

Canon Printer Driver, Printer Driver Extra Kit (Free Layout, Color imageRUNNER Enlargement Copy, Advanced Preview), Direct Print & Share, imagePROGRAF Print Utility2, PosterArtist Lite (PC Only), Print Plug-in for Microsoft® Word/Excel/PowerPoint (PC only), Status Monitor, Media Configuration Tool, Optimized Module for AutoCAD

Canon Printer Driver, Printer Driver Extra Kit (Free Layout, Color imageRUNNER Enlargement Copy, Advanced Preview), Direct Print & Share, imagePROGRAF Print Utility2, PosterArtist Lite (PC Only), Print Plug-in for Microsoft® Word/Excel/PowerPoint (PC only), Status Monitor, Media Configuration Tool, Optimized Module for AutoCAD

Canon Printer Driver, Printer Driver Extra Kit (Free Layout, Color imageRUNNER Enlargement Copy, Advanced Preview), Direct Print & Share, imagePROGRAF Print Utility2, PosterArtist Lite (PC Only), Print Plug-in for Microsoft® Word/Excel/PowerPoint (PC only), Status Monitor, Media Configuration Tool, Optimized Module for AutoCAD

Canon Printer Driver, Printer Driver Extra Kit (Free Layout, Color imageRUNNER Enlargement Copy, Advanced Preview), Direct Print & Share, imagePROGRAF Print Utility2, PosterArtist Lite (PC Only), Print Plug-in for Microsoft® Word/Excel/PowerPoint (PC only), Status Monitor, Media Configuration Tool, Optimized Module for AutoCAD

Canon Printer Driver, Printer Driver Extra Kit (Free Layout, Color imageRUNNER Enlargement Copy, Advanced Preview), Direct Print & Share, imagePROGRAF Print Utility2, PosterArtist Lite (PC Only), Print Plug-in for Microsoft® Word/Excel/PowerPoint (PC only), Status Monitor, Media Configuration Tool, Optimized Module for AutoCAD

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Demystifying 3D Printer Specifications

This post was written by Jon Bryant, Formlabs Customer Development Team Lead, who shares insights gleaned from working with hundreds of industry professionals on better ways to evaluate 3D printer solutions.

When the 3D printing industry exploded in 2014, a myriad of new companies rushed in, claiming to be the next revolution in 3D printing. Every week, Id see a new professional 3D printing company crop upeach of them touting a product with a new feature or a unique specification.

Naturally, all of this novelty caught the attention of consumers and business buyers. With each product launch, more and more people became interested in applications for 3D printing, particularly in industrial engineering anddesign prototyping. However, as that interest grew, so did the use of meaningless marketing jargon in professional 3D printer specification charts.

To illustrate that trend, heres a common specification comparison chart:

What do you notice about it? For me, what stands out is all of the capital letters, numbers, and parentheses. If I didnt know better, I might look at this information and assume that I needed the highlighted printer. After all, it has the best specs and the most impressive (albeit confusing) set of numbers.

The problem? That chart doesnt actually say much of anything.

If I were buying a professional 3D printer, this chart wouldnt help me understand what really matters: how the part will come out. That approach doesnt help customers choose the right 3D printer for their needs and, in the long run, it doesnt help the professional 3D printing industry grow.

This post isnt meant to be a super technical breakdown of every 3D printer specification out there. Instead, my goal is to shed light on what some commonly discussed 3D printer specifications really mean and help businesses understand what they should actually be looking for.

Lets start by diving into some of the individual specs listed in the chart above:

XY resolution is the most talked about specification for stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers. In many circumstances, it also happens to be the most useless.

Typically, XY resolution is used to describe the details or features of a part. In the chart above, the XY resolution listed for this digital light processing (DLP)-SLA printer (25-80 microns) is amazing, but what does that number actually describe?

In all likelihood, its the resolution of the actual projector (which is why its a variable range). That number doesnt really tell the whole story. Ultimately, there are a plethora of variables that can affect a printers output. By looking only at XY resolution, were led to believe that theres a 1:1 ratio between the size of a pixel on the projector and the cured resin of the part.

Heres why thats a faulty calculation: It doesnt take into account the material itself, the print process, the software used, or numerous other variables (professional 3D printers have over 100 different settings that impact part quality). As a result, this spec doesnt tell us anything about what you could actually produce with this machine.

Layer thickness is typically used to describe the surface finish of a part. While the thickness of a layer is often better at lower layer heights, the issue is that the roughness of a surface is not standard in relation to the layer height.

To illustrate this, I printed a few parts on theForm 2to show that the relationship between layer thickness and surface finish is not what one might expect. In the picture below, youll see two ringsone printed in Castable Resin and the other in Black Resin. The Castable Resin has a slightly smoother surface finish and the micro pav is a bit crisper.

Black Resin (25 microns layer height).

Castable Resin (50 microns layer height).

Heres the catch: the ring printed in Castable Resin was actually printed at 50 microns, whereas the ring printed in Black Resin was printed at 25 microns.

The reason the ring printed in Castable Resin looks better at 50 microns is because this resin was designed to produce the best results at 50 microns. Also, the Formlabs team dialed in the print/material settings on the Form 2 to make sure it produced the best results for casting.

Some companies list Z-axis resolution instead of layer height, which has the same usefulness as XY resolution because it speaks to the distance theZ-axis motorcan mechanically move/step.

Formlabs recently introducedOpenFL, giving researchers access to an API for more control over the Form 1+. With OpenFL, the smallest Z-axis step for the Form 1+ is 2.5 m, which you wont see listed on Formlabs website. The reason that this information isnt included is because it is a maximum of the motor, not the type of layer that can be printed.

The bottom line: just because a printer manufacturer claims X layer height, doesnt mean that printer will have a better surface finish.

Maximum speed is a hard metric to quantify, particularly across different printers. Again, theres not enough information for us to really understand how these printers will perform when producing parts. Not only do the standard variables impact print time, so too do factors like geometry and orientation of the part.

For instance, a taller part will take more time than one oriented closer to the build plate because there are more layers to print. Also, the way that an object is oriented and supported will change the time it takes to print the part.

A common benchmark is how fast a printer can produce a one-inch cube. The problem with that example is that its very specific. Unless youre a dice manufacturer, one-inch cubes arent a great way to estimate how long your part will take to print.

Dont get me started on this one. Decisions in life would be so much easier if good and bad were the only ways of quantifying specifications. Surface finish was discussed earlier in relation to layer thickness, but one thing to keep in mind: there is no real specification for surface finish. Surface finish can differ depending on the geometry (curved vs. straight surfaces) and orientation. The only way to compare surface finish between printers is if every 3D printing company published results from an industry standard part and profilometer. Probably not going to happen anytime soon.

Accuracy isnt included in the chart in the introduction, but it is something that a few 3D printer companies have been publishing recently. The mistake that a lot of 3D printer buyers make is assuming that XY resolution or layer thickness will determine the accuracy of the final part.

The truth is that global accuracy is hard to determine, largely because it can be impacted by length, geometry, and orientation. Heres an example of an accuracy statement for a large industrial machine:

At first it seems all parts will be within 25-50 microns but the footnote references just about every aspect of producing a part.

I dont want you to walk away thinking everyone in our industry is misleading you.

The truth is, the 3D printing industry as a whole lacks a set of standard specifications that adequately describes what you can expect from a 3D printer. Even with established technology, specifications dont tell the whole story. Ive seen speed tests where a higher spec Windows computer is slower than a Mac with lesser specs.

Output is truly dependent on hardware, operating system, application, and several other factors.

With that said, all hope is not lost. Here are four tips that will help you effectively evaluate different 3D printers:

Talk to the company.Youre investing in something to help you iterate faster and build better products. The best way to better understand a companys technology and how its products work is to talk to its team.

Request a sample part.Weve established that 3D printer specifications arent a great way to evaluate what a printer can actually produce. To see if a specific printer will meet your needs, ask the 3D printing manufacturer to send you a sample part, such as thisfree sample part from Formlabs. Once you receive the sample, ask the company to provide more information. For example:

If you do this a few times with a few different companies, youll see that surface finish from different printers can vary, even at the same layer height.

Ask for custom sample parts.Not all companies will do this, but it doesnt hurt to ask. Seeing your design printed will help you to understand what you can expect when you begin running the machine. If most of your parts are protected IP, try designing a part with similar features to avoid worrying about confidentiality agreements.

When sending a design for a custom sample, make sure the design is representative of your business or use case. For most prototyping applications, I typically recommend sending a design that represents roughly 80 percent of your business. Sending a complicated part that is a small percentage of what youll be printing can lead to purchasing a solution that doesnt really make sense for your work.

Look for design guides.Most 3D printing manufacturers have published design guides that help customers understand how to better use and design models for their printers. Guides like theFormlabs design guideprovide specifications for different types of features.

Validating Isotropy in SLA 3D Printing

Dive into the science behind isotropy vs. anisotropy, and why SLA p…

3D Printing Technology Comparison: SLA vs. DLP

Learn more about the differences between SLA and DLP 3D printing te…

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What do you plan to print with Form Cell?

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Material Comparison

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Welcome to MatterThings – 3D Printing Impression 3D!

There are many types of 3D printing materials: plastics, metals, wood, hybrid materials and more. All of them are great for different reasons. Here is a look at the difference between the most commonly used 3D printing materials. All data has been collected from various resources.

Below are some charts to give you a better comparison of the materials weve listed.

This chart compares the tensile strength of the materials listed on 10, with 10 being very durable and 0 being extremely brittle. Tensile strength measures the ability of a material to be pulled from both ends and not break. Typically when a material passes its limit, it breaks by snapping at the point with the most tension.

This chart compares the average elongation at break, expressed as a percentage. Elongation at break measures the increase in length (expressed as an increase by % of the original size) when a string or rope shaped material encounters so much tension that it stretches immediately before losing its structural integrity and breaking. For example, carbon fiber wire will snap without stretching almost at all, while a piece of chewing gum stretches for miles before it actually comes apart.

The Shore Hardness, or Durometer Scale, was invented in the 1920s by a man named Shore. The purpose of this scale is to measure plastics and other materials resistance to indentation. Around 10 to 30, you will find things such as a bicycle gel seat, and around 75 or above, you will find things like roller skate wheels or a hard hat (construction helmet).

Flexibility is defined by a materials ability to change from its original shape, without losing structural integrity, and with the ability to rebound back to its original shape. For example, both a stainless steel spoon and a rubber band can be reshaped, but the spoon is considered malleable rather than flexible, because it does not return to its original shape after bending, while a rubber band will bounce back to its original shape. We compared the materials by rating this criteria on 10, 10 being flexible and 0 being rigid.

Part of the Fused Deposition Modelling (a type of 3D printing technology) process is extrusion. This is the process of passing a material through a specific opening which forces the material passing through to take the form of the opening. To do this effectively, the material needs to be heated to a softened state, almost at melting point. Different materials require different temperature to extrude, which can affect the amount of time the object needs to cool, in turn affecting the level of skill needed to successfully work with a certain material. We measured temperatures in Celsius, in the chart below.

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Lulzbot Mini is the 3D printer youve been waiting for receives Editors Choice award from Natural News

Lulzbot Mini is the 3D printer youve been waiting for: receives Editors Choice award from Natural News

Posted Thursday, February 26, 2015, by Mike AdamsRead Comments

After months of heavy testing of various 3D printers, Ive finally found the perfect 3D printer to recommend to everyone: theLulzbot Mini.

Today, Im thrilled to announce why Im giving the Lulzbot Mini my Editors Choice award for the best consumer-level 3D printer available today! Importantly, this breakthrough 3D printer will be able to print all the inventions I release this year at . Youll need to uset-glase filamentto achieve good print results, however.

For the record, this is not a paid endorsement of any kind. I buy my printers from Lulzbot just like everyone else. In fact, I just purchased another Lulzbot Mini yesterday (and cant wait to add it to my 3D print farm).

Whats so great about theLulzbot Mini? Its simply revolutionary. Heres why:What makes the Lulzbot Mini the best desktop 3D printer available today

There are four key advantages that make the Lulzbot Mini truly amazing:

Leveling the print bed remains the single most troublesome task of 3D printers. Its frustrating across the board, and you inevitably waste filament while trying to get it right. But the Lulzbot Mini has a revolutionary approach thateliminates manual print bed leveling. Its so good that I predict this will become the new standard across all consumer-level 3D printers.

Its brilliant and simple, and its something Ive seen in CNC routers: the nozzle is moved into a touch off position to touch each of the four corners of the print surface. These four corners have a metal washer mounted on top, and an electromagnetic sensor detects the moment when the metal nozzle tip touches the washer. By measuring the touch off Z-axis height, the printer knows exactly where the print surface is located.

The result? No more fiddling with knobs, cursing at printers and using wearable magnifiers to level print beds. No more prints with ruined first layers. The Lulzbot Mini solves the problem once and for all. Ive now printed literally hundreds of objects spanning hundreds of hours of print time, and I havent experienced a single problem with the bed leveling.

Heres another reason why the Lulzbot Mini is revolutionary: In nearly all other 3D printers, you have to figure outhow to make your printed object stick to the print bed. This is accomplished through a variety of methods, all of them messy and annoying (if not downright toxic).

They include things like using acetone and ABS plastic to make lulzbot juice; rubbing glass print beds with Elmers glue sticks; spraying the surface with hair spray… and so on.

All these methods totally suck to use pop culture lingo. They really do. They suck bad.

But Lulzbot has solved this problem. With their revolutionary PEI print bed surface, theresno bed adhesion treatment needed.

I know what youre thinking: Thats impossible! But youre wrong. Check it out:

Ive been printing Float Valve Receivers for the Mini-Farm Grow Box by using t-glase filament with NO bed adhesion at all. The object Im printing is foundat this link on FoodRising.org.

Heres a photo to show you how it prints on the Lulzbot Mini with no bed adhesion whatsoever (you can see some scratches from previous prints, and a bit of extra t-glase from a previous brim, but theres no glue, no ABS juice, no hair spray, nothing):

Lulzbot figured out thatPEI sheet materialhas seemingly magical properties: Its sticky when hot, but solid as glass when cool. So after the bed heats up, your prints stick nicely to the print surface. But after your print, when the bed cools down, your printed objects can be removed with relative ease. (I use sturdy wide-mouth pliers to grab the base of each object and pull it off the bed.)

No more scraping glue with putty knives! No more inhaling acetone vapors! No more sniffing hair spray between prints! (Gosh I miss the 60s…)

Im about to murder my Ultimaker 2 printer because swapping out the print nozzle is nearly impossible without permanently damaging the heat sensor. As a rule, 3D printers should have nozzles that are easy to change out. The print nozzle isthe single most frequently removed partof the printer because you sometimes need to clean it or even drill it out to a larger diameter (I dont print anything with less than a 0.5mm diameter nozzle, and I often run them at 0.7mm).

The Lulzbot Mini makes its nozzles incredibly easy to swap out. You just unscrew it and screw in a new one. It takes just a few seconds. And to make things even better, you can easily find generic replacement nozzles on .

With a lot of other printers, you have to buy their proprietary nozzles. This sometimes involves waiting for them to ship from overseas. But with the Lulzbot Mini, you can buy spare nozzles for a few bucks on m and have them shipped via PRIME.

By the way, if you try drilling out nozzles to make them larger, you will ruin a lot of nozzles at first by breaking off the micro drills inside the nozzle. Have a good laugh and join the club…weve all done the same thing!

After doing this a few times, you will learn to put down the Dremel tool and drill them out with hand-operated micro drills likethese ones at Amazon.com.

If you want a wearable magnifier visor, I recommendthese wearable optics by Zeiss. (Yeah, theyre expensive. Good optics are never cheap…)

4) Supports high print temperatures

Another huge problem with other 3D printers is that they dont support the higher print temperatures needed for todays more advanced filaments like Colorfabb XT or even t-glase.

Believe it or not,t-glase filament for 3D printingneeds to be printed at temperatures close to 250C. Earlier reports of it printing at 212C are not up to date. You actually want t-glase to print at the highest temperature possible WITHOUT air bubbles showing up in the print from excessive heat. This is usually around 250C, in my experience.

The Lulzbot Mini supports nozzle temperatures up to 300C. Ive never taken it beyond 260C and Ive never had a problem with it. Also, the filament feed problem I experienced with the TAZ 4 printer is totally solved with the Lulzbot Mini. In fact, in hundreds of hours of printing, Ive only had t-glase filament fail to feed just ONE time, and even that was easily solved by removing the filament, cutting it off, and re-feeding. It worked immediately.

Also, its incredibly easy to swap out filament with the Lulzbot Mini, unlike the Ultimaker 2 which is an enormous hassle for a number of reason Ill explain in another review.Bottom line? The Lulzbot Mini is the printer to beat

The 3D printing industry is moving at lightning speed, but as of right now, the Lulzbot Mini is hands down the best consumer-grade 3D printer available today, in my experience. If theres anything better out there, please let me know and Ill be happy to review it!

The Lulzbot Mini is also surprisingly affordable: $1350. Thats about half the price of the Type A Machines Series 1 3D printer, which is my second-best recommended printer.

At $1350, the Lulzbot Mini is a true bargain. It has a heated print bed, the miraculous PEI print surface, the automagic bed leveling feature, a nozzle wipe feature that keeps the print nozzle clean, easily replaceable nozzle parts, high print temperature support and a host of other features.

The only drawback to the entire system is that it must be connected to a computer to be used. It cant operate as a standalone printer running on SD cards. This is a minor drawback, but the other features and benefits of the Mini more than make up for it. The print bed is also significantly smaller than most other 3D printers, but its big enough to print everything Im inventing, so thats no drawback to me.

If youre looking for an affordable, easy-to-use 3D printer, this is the clear choice. Get one now and start downloading all my stuff from FoodRising.org!

Click here for the Lulzbot Mini purchase page on Lulzbot.com.

If you want t-glase filament, get it from help support our operations (and future inventions).You can use the Lulzbot Mini to print out ALL my upcoming inventions

I have five revolutionary inventions to release in 2015, and all of them are 3D-printable.

The first invention was just released on FoodRising.org: the 3D-printable self-watering float valve that makes non-circulating hydroponics systems work.Click here for full assembly instructionsandclick here to download the 3D-printable partsthat Ive released to the world for free.

Four more groundbreaking inventions are coming this year and will be released for free on FoodRising.org. All of them can be printed with t-glase filament on the Lulzbot Mini 3D printer.Comparison chart of four popular 3D printers

Heres my take on these four popular 3D printers:

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Kratky, B.A. 2009. Three non-circulating hydroponic methods for growing lettuce

Proceedings of the International Symposium on Soilless Culture and Hydroponics. Acta. Hort. 843:65-72.>