When MakerBot launched its MakerBot Labs, the 3D printer manufacturer worked with acknowledged materials producers such as Kimya, the AM brand of Armor Group to qualify materials for its Method 3D printers. The successful collaboration leads to another one today, as MakerBot announced the qualification of three ABS composite materials from Kimya. These additions bring the total number of materials available for METHOD customers to 23.
AM of composite materials is currently gaining momentum. If the markets for large-format chopped fiber pellet material extrusion (LFAM) and powder bed fusion (PBF) are often seen as key the near and medium-term opportunities for composites AM, it should be noted that hybrid material processes that combine extrusion/automated layup technologies are not to be neglected. As a matter of fact, applications in the field are likely to increase due to the enhanced properties of these materials compared to unfilled thermoplastics.
In this vein, ARMOR Group and MakerBot have qualified Kimya ABS Kevlar for parts with high strength, abrasion-resistance, and dimensional stability; Kimya ABS-ESD, which protects against electrostatic discharges; and Kimya ABS-EC, a new and unique material that is electrically-conductive.
Pierre-Antoine Pluvinage, Business Director, ARMOR 3D, added: “The ability to 3D print Kimya composites like ABS Kevlar and Carbon Fiber on the MakerBot METHOD X has given us a unique combination of tool-grade part performance and high precision in an extremely affordable and accessible package. In our own manufacturing facility, we’ve been able to replace several traditionally-manufactured parts with printed parts gaining a savings of up to 99.4% per part.”
Several tests conducted by the materials producer demonstrate cost savings of up to 80% compared to traditional manufacturing processes. 3D printing tools and fixtures are some of the applications achieved with the ABS Kevlar material.
The METHOD X 3D printer can process the three materials with the MakerBot LABS GEN 2 Experimental Extruder. The latter is the latest edition of the LABS extruder. Indeed, thanks to its upgraded hardened-steel components, the extruder can print more abrasive third-party composites and polymers for longer periods of time. These hardened-steel components include for instance, hardened gears and a metal filament switch designed to reduce wear from these materials.
“The MakerBot LABS extruder provides METHOD users access to a wide variety of 3D printing materials from third-party suppliers,” said Johan-Till Broer, VP of Product Development, MakerBot. “The three new ABS composite materials from Kimya continue our expansion into advanced engineering materials that unlock new manufacturing applications. With its up to 110°C heated chamber, METHOD is the first truly industrial 3D printing platform in its price class, delivering higher precision and strength than desktop 3D printers.”
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