At RAPID, I saw a number of solutions for making larger FDM prints. As we previously reported, Titan Robotics exhibited two products, a new pellet extruder and their Cronus multi-gantry 3D printer, both of which speed printing, saving both time and money. 3D Platform (3DP) takes a different tack when it comes to quickly printing large plastic parts. The standard extruder on their Workbench Pro series of 3D printers is an E3D Volcano, but 3DP had a few new extruders that they developed in-house, on display at RAPID. Their HFA extruder prints twice as fast as the Volcano, but it’s with their HFE (High Flow Extruder) where things get interesting. The HFE 300 prints twice as fast as the HFA extruder, the HFE 600 doubles that speed again, and the HFE 900 is twice as fast as the HFE 600, printing at a whopping 273mm³/s. These blazing fast speeds are accomplished not just with more powerful extruders, but through larger nozzle and filament sizes.
3DP’s booth displayed models 3D printed with their various extruder options. The HFE 300 was loaded with 1.75mm filament and the HFE 600 with 2.85mm (commonly referred to as 3mm) filament, but it was the HFE 900 extruder that was the real standout. 3DP partnered with MakeShaper to develop the world’s first 6mm filament. At the show they had several enormous spools of the 6mm filament, and I was told that they intend to keep the filament open source. Nozzle sizes on the HFE 900 range from 1.0mm – 5mm.
All the HFE extruders operate at very high wattage (from 300 – 900 watts) and thus require water cooling, something not commonly seen on FDM extruders. They are available as dual extruders, as are the Volcano and HFA extruders. The Workbench Classic and Pro series have built-in storage drawers and cabinets for easy access to tools and materials, a wood work area, and foldable gantries that allow them to fit through standard doors. Optional open bottomed enclosures are available for the printers with or without heaters and/or filters.
“Our new line of HFE 900 extruders are the fastest filament extruders on the market, and offer customers the flexibility to change extruders depending on their application and purpose,” says Jonathan Schroeder, President of 3D Platform.
As we recently reported, the Workbench Pro has a huge 1M x 1M x 700mm build area, which is 40% larger than their 200 Series Workbench Classic. Print resolution is down to 50 microns, and industrial strength mechatronics deliver superior performance and reliability. 3DP uses open market hardware and software, so the Workbench Pro is compatible with third party slicers such as Simplify3D, Slic3r , and Repetier Host, as well as third party filament.
Also at the 3DP booth was the “entry-level” 100 Series Work Table that, while it doesn’t include the drawers, work surface, and some of the other bells and whistles of the Workbenches, still has a very impressive build volume of 1M x 1M x 500mm. The Work Table has a base price of $14,999.
HFE 900 extruder
It was really exciting to see 3DP and MakeShaper’s novel solutions of faster, water-cooled extruders and 6mm filament to print bigger and faster. The added functionally and portability of the Workbenches was well thought out. I’ll be curious to see how quickly other manufacturers will support the new 6mm filament or create their own.
Below are videos of a Workbench printing 6mm filament with the HFE 900 and a Worktable printing with a standard Volcano extruder:
[Images: 3DP, Michael A. Parker]