Since storming onto the 3D printing scene with a jaw-dropping TED presentation in March of 2015, Dr. Joseph DeSimone – CEO and Co-Founder of Carbon (formerly Carbon3D) – has fought relentlessly to bring his revolutionary CLIP (continuous liquid interface production) technology to market. Now, just a year later, the public can get their hands on the revolutionary 3D printing technology in the form of the M1 3D printer – a first of its kind that prints injection molding-like parts 25 to 100 times faster than any 3D printer before it.
The commercial 3D printer, which can produce parts up to 144 x 81 x 330 millimeters with speed, accuracy and a desirable surface finish, is expected to be the first 3D printer to effectively bridge the gap between rapid prototyping and on-demand manufacturing once and for all.
Says Dr. Joseph DeSimone:
“We’re excited to unveil our M1 machine and ground-breaking materials. This product lays the groundwork for addressing major gaps in additive manufacturing as we work with our customers to continually innovate and push the boundaries of product design and production.”
The M1 is capable of printing in seven different types of resins that each contain different prototyping or production quality properties ranging from flexibility and heat resistance to toughness and elasticity.
In total, these resins include:
Rigid Polyurethanes (RPU):
Carbon offers a family of three Rigid Polyurethanes. RPUs are Carbon’s stiffest and most versatile polyurethane based resin. They perform well under stress, combining strength, stiffness, and toughness. These properties make RPU particularly useful for consumer electronics, automotive, and industrial components where excellent mechanical properties are needed.
Flexible Polyurethane (FPU):
Flexible Polyurethane is a semi-rigid material with good impact, abrasion and fatigue resistance. This versatile material was designed for applications that require the toughness to withstand repetitive stresses such as hinging mechanisms and friction fits.
Elastomeric Polyurethane (EPU):
Elastomeric Polyurethane is a high-performance polymeric elastomer. It exhibits excellent elastic behavior under cyclic tensile and compressive loads. EPU is useful for demanding applications where high elasticity, impact and tear resistance are needed such as cushioning, gaskets, and seals.
Cyanate Ester-Based Resin (CE):
Cyanate Ester-based resin is a high-performance material with heat deflection temperatures up to 219°C [426°F]. Marked by excellent strength, stiffness and long-term thermal stability, CE is useful for under-the-hood applications, electronics, and industrial components.
Prototyping Resin (PR):
Prototyping Resin prints quickly, has excellent resolution, and performs well enough to withstand moderate functional testing. It is available in six colors — cyan, magenta, yellow, black, white, and gray. These colors can also be mixed to create custom colors.
While the introduction of the CLIP technology itself is sure to send a ripple through the world of hardware development, Carbon is also introducing an accessible subscription pricing model that aims to future-proof customers and provide a seamless user experience over time. Companies and users who want access to the ‘M1 Experience’ can purchase an annual subscription for $40,000/year with a three-year minimum commitment. Included in the subscription cost are on-site servicing and immediate upgrades via a constant connection to Carbon’s cloud servers, which also use the crowdsourced print data to provide precise remote diagnostics, assist with print optimization and to improve print quality over time for all users.
With companies including “one major footwear manufacturer” and leading automakers already working with the technology to bring products to market faster and more economically, the promise of distributed manufacturing and “just hit print” in a truly usable sense just might now be upon us.