Democratizing AM: Formlabs Fuse 1 makes SLS 3D printing accessible

Bruce Jenkins, Ora Research

rinting systems that it differentiates as being both “powerful and accessible”—unveiled Fuse 1, its first selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printer. At the same time, it launched Form Cell, an automated production solution for additive manufacturing that uses the Form 2, which Formlabs bills as today’s best-selling professional 3D printer.

Fuse 1

 

“When we launched the world’s first desktop stereolithography 3D printer in 2012,” said CEO Max Lobovsky, “Formlabs created new possibilities for designers and engineers to create physical products by giving them access to professional 3D printing technology that had historically been unavailable. With Fuse 1, we are taking the same approach to making powerful SLS technology available to a huge range of customers. And with Form Cell, we are making an efficient, scalable production solution by leveraging the Form 2, an SLA print engine that’s already stood the test of printing more than 10 million parts.”

Fuse 1 bike seat

Numerous companies including Google and other global brands are currently testing the new systems. One, New Balance, just announced a strategic collaboration with Formlabs to make high-performance footwear.

Fuse 1 power drill housing

“SLS technology enables designers and engineers to accelerate their prototyping process by combining realistic material properties with the minimization of 3D printing design constraints,” said Google ATAP Skunkworks manager David Beardsley. “With the Fuse 1, a combination of high-precision parts, reduced cycle time and robust materials allow teams to easily iterate throughout the design process and accelerate from whiteboard to final parts.”

Fuse 1 hand splint

“By enabling teams to easily iterate and also to directly manufacture final products,” said Formlabs chief product officer Dávid Lakatos, “Fuse 1 and Form Cell open up a wealth of innovation flexibility within the product development cycle, from early prototyping to manufacturing.”

Fuse 1 in shop

These developments, Formlabs sums up, are “powering next-generation digital manufacturing and enabling mass customization through industrial 3D printing.”

Fuse 1

Fuse 1 “brings the industrial power of SLS 3D printing to the benchtop, with the intuitiveness and reliability that users of the Form 2 have come to love,” the company says. Reported highlights:

  • 20 times less expensive than the cheapest industrial SLS machines, the Fuse 1 printer starts at $9,999, available for reservation on June 5 with a deposit of $1000; shipping estimated mid-2018.
  • Complete package at $19,999, which along with the printer will include a post-processing station with material recovery, an extra build piston for continuous usage, and initial material load.
  • Available materials include Nylon PA 12 and PA 11 materials, the industry standards for strong and durable functional prototyping and end-use parts. Fuse 1-sintered parts meet or exceed the material properties published by their industrial counterparts.
  • SLS produces the least expensive per-part cost in 3D printing and enables the production of large, geometrically complex prints without any supports.

Form Cell

Form Cell is Formlabs’ solution for 3D printing automation to achieve the lowest cost per part. Form Cell parallelizes and automates repetitive 3D printing processes through:

  • Complete automation work cell from file to finished part—A row of Form 2 3D printers, Form Wash, a curing unit and an industrial robotic gantry system automates the manual parts of 3D printing. Optimized for the lowest cost per part, businesses can prove ROI for Form Cell in months instead of years. Form Cell eliminates repetitive manual processes to finally bring 3D printing into the lights-out, 24-hour digital factory.
  • Proven track record—Scale production with the Form 2, the best-selling professional 3D print engine that’s already stood the test of printing more than 10 million parts.
  • Reduced labor through smarter software—Print job scheduling and error detection, remote monitoring, and part and serial number printing. Reduce labor and downtime with reliable, stable printing—no check-ins required.
  • Factory-ready—API endpoints for integration with industry-standard business systems (CRM, ERP, MES) or homegrown systems that make Form Cell part of a company’s existing workflow.

Formlabs
www.formlabs.com

 

 

 

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