Making parts in more of a production fashion is goal for several 3D printing vendors. Formlabs is the latest to announce its approach to this goal. The Fuse 1 is a benchtop selective laser sintering 3D printer, and the Form Cell is an automated 3D printing approach for manufacturing powered by the Form 2.
This marks a major step for Formlabs as its management strives to put the means of production in the hands of as many businesses as possible.
There are two main barriers to 3D printing expanding into wider applications: materials and cost per part. Formlabs engineers believe that more examples of 3D printing for production will emerge if 3D printer manufacturers can push improvements in these two categories.
Formlabs new approach focuses on cost per part:
equipment ownership cost + materials cost + labor cost = cost per part
The Fuse 1 and Form Cell attack the cost per part equation from every angle. Fuse 1 brings down equipment ownership costs for selective laser sintering. Form Cell takes on the oft-neglected labor component, automating repetitive 3D printing processes so that labor can be redirected to more creative and impactful tasks.
The Fuse 1: SLS for the benchtop
With the Fuse 1 SLS uses a laser to fuse a powdered material into robust nylon parts.
With Fuse 1, you can print with up to 50 percent recycled powder, which helps bring cost per part down. The price for this benchtop printer is $9,999. Beta units will ship in late 2017.
Form Cell: An automated 3D printing solution
The Form Cell leverages the Form 2 desktop 3D printer. Form Cell is a scaleable cell of 3D printers that parallelizes and automates repetitive 3D printing processes, enabling a 24-hour digital factory.
The system includes a row of Form 2 3D printers, a post-processing solution, and an industrial robotic gantry system, plus software to optimize print scheduling and API endpoints for industry standard business systems and homegrown systems alike.