VX4000 3D printing system: Molds the Size of a Sports Car
They Could Print a Car. But They Made a Seat, Instead.
Last year, voxeljet technology GmbH (voxeljet.de) CEO Dr. Ingo Ederer introduced the company’s VX4000 3D printing system, saying it could “generate molds the size of a sports car.” A demonstration of the printer produced—no, not a car body—an intricate designer chair mimicking the contours of a gliding stingray.
At voxeljet's service center in Augsburg, Germany, the company showcased the VX4000’s capabilities by producing a “Batoidea” (or stingray) chair, envisioned by Belgian designer Peter Donders.
With the ability to produce molds with a potential volume of 8-m3, VX4000 has a lot of ground to cover and moves at three times the speed of voxeljet’s standard printers. The chair, which was modeled using Rhino3D CAD software (rhino3d.com), required five smaller sand molds, the largest of which measured 1.105 x 713 x 382 millimeters.
With a thin-walled cast aluminum structure, the design was taxing to both the 3D printing process as well as the casting. The molds were created without set-ups and in an automated process based on the CAD designs. They were produced in 300-µm thick quartz sand layers that were selectively glued. After the printing process was complete, the molds were unpacked and the sand removed.
voxeljet also recently introduced a continuous 3D printing concept study that literally takes a different angle on conventional 3D printing and unpacking.
In the VX Concept, models are constructed at the entrance of the belt conveyor, while the unpacking takes place at the exit. The 600 dpi print head is positioned at a 35° angle, creating molds and models with layers between 150 to 400 µ. A conveyor belt system moves the sandbed with the parts onto the unpacking area. With build space of 800 x 500 mm, the length of the molds and models is “virtually unlimited” on the machine, which voxeljet says can run autonomously.
”At the present time we are working flat out on refining the system for series production. Customers should be taking delivery of the first machines by the end of next year at the latest,” Ederer said of the concept.
So maybe sometime car bodies and car parts.