Desktop Metal announced the P-1 printer has begun global shipments and joins the Production System lineup alongside the flagship P-50 printer. Designed to serve as a bridge from process development to full-scale mass production of end-use metal parts, the P-1 leverages the Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) technology and core additive manufacturing benefits for companies and research institutions alike at the size and scale of serial production. The P-1 is available for order and has already begun to ship to initial customers, including to the Ford Motor Company.
“Ford has been active in 3D printing since 1988 with acquisition of the third commercially available stereolithography (SLA) system; we are excited to be early adopters of the P-1,” said Cynthia Flanigan, Director, Vehicle Research and Technology, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “We expect that this new system will serve as an important tool in the development of our process and alloy implementation, enabling our researchers to investigate additional production opportunities of metal binder jetting at Ford Motor Company. Our early collaboration with Desktop Metal highlighted the need for a lab scale system that is aligned with the function of a production scale system so we can further develop expertise around this process.”
The P-1 offers a new form factor to bridge the gap between benchtop process development and mass production, leveraging the same SPJ technology and print carriage design as on the P-50 but with enhanced process flexibility. Also similar to the P-50, the P-1 features a state-of-the-art print bar with native 1200 dpi, printhead technology that supports a variety of binders, and an inert processing environment to support both non-reactive and reactive materials. As a result, materials research and new application development conducted on the P-1 can be transferred directly onto the P-50 to scale.
“For many businesses like Ford, the P-1 will serve as a learning lab for processes as they look to scale up to full production,” said Fulop. “Research institutions can also use the Production System P-1 to experiment, validate materials, and test a variety of use cases for metal binder jetting with a smaller build box that offers all of the benefits of SPJ technology, including speed, quality, and reliability.
SPJ technology on the P-1 prints a layer in less than three seconds, including powder deposition, powder compaction, anti-ballistics, binder deposition, and printhead cleaning. At this maximum build rate, the P-1 can achieve production throughputs 10 times higher than those of legacy PBF systems and fast enough to complete a full build in less than one hour.
The P-1’s open material platform and inert process environment allow customers to use low-cost, third-party metal injection molding powders across a variety of materials, making the P-1 suitable for serial production of small and complex parts in addition to smaller scale process development activities. Powder reclaimed during the printing and depowdering process can be recycled for future use, for more cost efficiencies and a more environmentally friendly manufacturing process. In addition, the tooling-free manufacturing process on the P-1 facilitates quick turnovers to new jobs along with the ability to print many complex geometries simultaneously with no print supports required.
P-1 customers will also gain access to Desktop Metal’s Fabricate manufacturing build preparation software, as well as to the Live Sinter application, which dynamically simulates the sintering process and automatically generates print-ready geometries that compensate for the shrinkage and distortion that take place during sintering, minimizing process trial and error while improving accuracy.
The flagship Production System printer, the P-50, remains on schedule to begin volume commercial shipments in 2021, paving the way for the mass production of end-use parts, and unlocking throughput, repeatability, and competitive part costs.