The Fuse 1 and Form Cell: Putting the Means of Production in Your Hands


#1

Today at The Digital Factory, Formlabs announced two new product lines, both years in the making. We’re excited to introduce the Fuse 1, a 3D printer that brings the industrial power of selective laser sintering (SLS) to the benchtop, and Form Cell, our automated 3D printing solution for manufacturing powered by the Form 2.

The Fuse 1: The Industrial Power of SLS for the Benchtop

With the Fuse 1, we’re doing what we did with SLA for selective laser sintering. SLS uses a laser to fuse a powdered material into robust nylon parts. Parts are suspended in a bed of powder as they print, so prints don’t require any supports, which opens up broad possibilities for complex, intricate parts. Fuse 1 brings down equipment ownership costs for selective laser sintering, a prohibitively expensive technology using a material, nylon, that’s both strong and cost-friendly.

Form Cell: An Automated 3D Printing Solution

Companies like Invisalign who’ve pushed 3D printing into higher production volumes have largely done so because they’ve been able to automate the most repetitive parts of the 3D printing process. We developed Form Cell to address this need, providing an automated 3D printing solution that leverages the Form 2, our desktop 3D printer with stability and reliability proven through tens of millions of prints in the field.

The system includes a row of Form 2 3D printers, a post-processing solution, and an industrial robotic gantry system, plus software to optimize print scheduling and API endpoints for industry standard business systems and homegrown systems alike.

With the introduction of the Fuse 1 and Form Cell, we’re expanding Formlabs’ reach into manufacturing–and to continue expanding access to professional and industrial technology to a broader range of businesses, just like we did for stereolithography with the Form 2.


#2

Fuse 1 thoughts
#3

Very cool, though not useful for my purposes due to the need for high detail parts. This is probably a big deal for printing services though, a $10,000 SLS machine will save them a lot of money.


#4

The Fuse 1 looks great and I am very pleased with the reservation system you implemented with this system.

I have a few questions:

  1. Where can we find information on the entire production system? It seems to involve more than just the printer.
  2. What are the build space dimensions?
  3. What kind of resolution can the printer do?
  4. Cost of nylon powder?
  5. How does the powder recycling work? You say you can recycle up to 50%. How do you actually do this, do you have a mixing system and surplus used material storage?
  6. Will the printer stop at the top of the parts or does it keep filling in unused powder until the build volume is full?
  7. Do you need breathing protection for working with the parts and ventilation systems?
  8. Will you be offering other than black nylon? Shapeways prints white nylon and dyes it colors.

#5

@Richard_Beck , Build volume is 6" X 6" X 12"

I do have a many questions of my own.

  1. What kind of laser are you using?
  2. How hot can the laser get?
  3. Can we sinter ceramic powder also?
  4. How about metal powder?
  5. What powders are plan on being supported?
  6. Can we experiment with our own powder?

#6

I’ll answer as many of these as I can and work on the Fuse team gets back from the Digital Factory.

  1. Here’s a link to the Technical Specifications for the Fuse 1. The Fuse 1 will be $9999 and we’ll also be offering a complete system which includes the printer, cleaning system, and service plan for $19999.

  2. The build volume will be 165mm x 165mm x 320mm and parts can be comfortably stacked within the entire volume.

  3. The spot size of the laser is 200 microns and because this is a galvanometer driven system, actual part tolerances will in most cases be smaller. More detailed resolution specifications to come.

  4. We’re still working on pricing for the Nylon powder but both PA11 and PA12 will be available for the Fuse 1.

  5. Waiting on the Fuse Team for more detailed information on the recycler.

  6. The printer will stop depositing powder once the tallest portion of the build has been printed.

  7. The Nylon powder we’re using has a larger particle size than those used on other SLS systems and does not pose a significant health hazard. We’re still working on finalizing safety documentation, but this can be safely used in a workspaces and for most uses, won’t require special respiratory equipment.

  8. For now, we’ll just be offering the native colors for PA11 (Black) and PA12 (Grey) but this may change in the future (Nylon takes well to color dyeing so PA11 can be modified a bit).


#7

Keep em coming :slight_smile:

  1. The Fuse 1 is using a 1064nm Fiber Laser.

  2. The output power is 10W with a 200nm spot size. Sintering temperature varies by material but will generally be below 200C (melting temperature of PA11)

  3. We’re currently offering PA11 and PA12 for the Fuse 1 and will continue experimenting with other materials. That said, Ceramic is likely going to be well beyond the maximum temperature capabilities of the Fuse 1.

  4. See above for metal powder. Requisite temperatures are likely going to be well above the capabilities of the Fuse 1.

  5. PA11 and PA12 will be offered immediately with the release of the Fuse 1.

  6. I’ll check in with the Fuse team to see if there are any Open Mode esque plans for the Fuse 1.


#8

Just to get Formlabs thinking a little bit. There are low melting point metals out there that might not need an inert gas in the chamber. Some have extremely low melt points like pour it in your bare hand low.

These metals are used as complex cores for injection molding today (some engine intakes for example). The core is melted out of the part after setting.


#9

any chance on a powder castable material with the same quality as the form2 ? … would really love not having to do supports especially on tight details


#10

Is the material paintable and glueable?


#11

Frew,
What are the difficulties of the cleaning process If only the printer is purchased (no finishing station)?
When you say 50% of the powder can be reused, how can one decide which powder can be reused and which cannot?
Thank you.


#12

It is nylon with a slightly rough surface, so it should take any nylon-compatible adhesives and paints well.


#13

Looks like a nice machine but curious if you guys have other materials. Using plastic to carry other materials such as metal, ceramics that could be fired later on would be good. maybe down the road?


#14

I have a few questions.

  1. It’s not 100% clear so, if you reserve a printer for $1k you have a choice to pay $19k more for the processing setup, extra chamber and nylon powder or just get the printer with one chamber and nothing else for 10k? You will have to buy the powder separately?

  2. Do you have to have the post-processing unit to use the printer? What does it do?

  3. How long does the block have to cool before the parts can be extracted from the powder?

  4. Are there any other consumables or parts that need replacing frequently, besides the powder?

Thanks.


#15

With a reservation, will you be able to choose between the full system (24K EUR) or the Fuse 1 printer and build chamber (12K EUR)? Or will the full system be shipping first (late 2017) and then later (spring 2018) the Fuse 1 printer and build chamber?

Thank you!


#16

What is the thinking behind the price offered in Europe.
Europe price 12098.79€ (= 13678 USD)
US price is $9999 (= 8981€)

Really interesting product.
But this pricing seems a bit odd.


#17

Difference is the Europeans appeared to be being shafted!


#18

Maybe this is a cunning plan by President Donald, to have Europeans pay what he believes NATO owes the him. :slight_smile:
On a more serious note, I wish Formlabs valued their customers customers more.


#19

If it makes you feel any better I get the shaft when I have things shipped from the EU. Often huge percentages of the actual cost.


#20

A forward looking manufacturing partnership with those people in Lawrence may mean that we will see some
new elastomeric materials showing up soon, possibly PU’s (?) but whatever base materials they will have much better durability and compression set properties?