Let’s be honest here: talking about new 3D printers has become an almost nauseating exercise. From Kickstarter dreams to different sizes of MakerBots, very little has truly changed the game of speed, quality and cost of getting something 3D printed. The Multi Jet Fusion technology announced by HP this morning has not only changed the game, it effectively positioned HP to control the entire court on which everybody plays.
Using their existing library of HP Thermal Inkjet technology assets, the researchers and engineers at HP reengineered their inkjet approach to work in the 3D space with Multi Jet Fusion technology. The result is a system that uses multiple 3D print heads that can operate 10,000 nozzles at once with five-micron precision. There’s a lot of other numbers that were thrown around at the official launch, but to put it simply, this technology is fast, accurate and of higher quality than most–if not all–existing 3D printing methods in existence today.
The technology works by applying multiple liquid agents in all three axis directions with a selectively applied fusing agent all built off of HP’s existing patented inkjet platforms. Due to the unique spraying process, a model can be built in sections at a time rather than through a painful and slow single point that we’ve become accustomed to. HP is claiming that with Multi Jet Fusion™ technology, a user could print 1000 small gears in three hours compared to days using extruded or laser sintering methods.
HP is effectively not only bringing 3D printed parts to a finished product level that we’ve always wanted, they are doing it in an almost unbelievable fraction of the time. To do one or the either is one thing, but to satisfy both needs just projected us into the future of localized manufacturing, rapid prototyping and getting s**t made right here, right now.
“HP’s Multi Jet Fusion™ technology strategy is to provide a platform for innovation thatallows the world to realize the full potential of 3D printing. The new technology is designed to produce output that is both beautiful and mechanically useful with the ability to manipulate part and material properties, including form, texture, friction, strength, elasticity, electrical and thermal properties.”
The big question is cost…however that is unknown at this time. Expect it to be released in 2016.