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3D Systems Unveils Figure 4 Robotic SLA 3D Printer at AMUG

by • April 3, 2016 • No Comments

  • With former CEO Avi Reichental, 3D Systems began to place noticeable resources into the company’s consumer division – a few say, at the expense of their key industrial technologies. Now that he has stepped down and a new CEO has stepped up, the inventor of 3D printing has begun refocusing its energy on industrial 3D printing, releasing its initially new SLA process in a few time. The all-new Figure 4 3D printing device is no ordinary rapid prototyping process. Due to its use of an industrial robotic arm, the Figure 4 platform is engineered for weight production.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.26.29 PM The Figure 4 platform was in fact invented of the original SLA patent filed 3D Systems founder and inventor of SLA Chuck Hull in 1984, with the name derived of the fourth illustration in his application. The SLAbot-2 is the 2nd generation of the process, geared towards automating the SLA 3D printing process to the extent that it can be implemented in a weight making situation. The process is turn it intod up of discrete modules representing each step in an assembly line-style 3D printing and post-production setup.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.26.50 PM

    The process sees an industrial robotic arm act as the printing device in stage one, pulling a print up of a vat of resin as it is cured layer by layer at rapid speeds. This is due to a specialty membrane utilized between the light source and the resin. But the precise details of the membrane have not been disclosed, the concept itself is much like to that implemented by Carbon, that allows for for high-speed 3D printing.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.27.11 PM

    Upon printing, excess material is and so recovered of the print, preceding the object is washed and cured additional as a part of post-processing. Because the process is scalable, the possibility exists to turn it into arrays of such processs to weight create these SLA parts. 3D Systems has in addition engineered photopolymers for the process, that include hybrid materials for one-of-a-kind qualities of durablity, wear resistance, temperature deflection, biocompatibility, and elastomeric qualities.

    There are yet a number of details left undisclosed of the Figure 4 platform, such as the type of membrane it uses, its commercial availability, and the type of light source utilized, but the process is an interesting one. Hopefully, now that Reichental’s Cubify-style marketing tactics are out of the picture, what we see is what we get. If so, the Figure 4 may be the platform that puts 3D Systems back on the 3D printing map.

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