At the IMTS show in Chicago this week, I had a chance to see Stratasys Ltd. new Objet500 Connex1 and Objet500 Connex2 Multi-material 3D Printers, which feature the company’s triple-jetting technology. These two additions to the Stratasys lineup are the small and mid-range versions of the Objet500 Connex lineup, with the Connex3 being the top of the line. With triple-jetting technology you can build products with up to three different materials in a single run, or mix multiple material droplets to form new digital materials such as tough Digital ABS.
The Objet500 Connex1 has a large build envelope. You can build a part up to 19.3 in. x 15.4 in. x 7.9 in. (490 mm x 390 mm x 200 mm) or a mixed tray of small parts.
It produces parts from three diverse materials in a single production run. Thus, you can create assemblies with components formed from three different materials, or produce components that contain both rigid and flexible materials, such as rubber-like Tango and rigid Vero material. A larger material cabinet contains eight cartridges, which means longer unattended run time and fewer material changeovers. You can also “hot swap” cartridges–reload material and support cartridges while the 3D printer is operating for continuous part production.
The Objet500 Connex2 Multi-material 3D Printer lets you combine transparency, durability and flexibility in one part. It has all the capabilities of the Objet500 Connex1 plus the ability to combine droplets from two base materials to produce new materials or “Digital Materials.” Digital ABS, for example, is the most durable material available for the Stratasys PolyJet process and is often used to produce mold cores and cavities for short-run injection molding. With more than 100 material options for this printer, you can produce a variety of Shore A values in the same part with rigid or clear components, or combine Digital ABS with pure Tango for strong over-molded handles and grips. This printer’s versatility is useful for creating custom manufacturing tools such as jigs and fixtures.
“Following the launch of the Objet500 Connex3 earlier this year, we saw the demand for additional multi-material 3D printers that can address a variety of applications in prototyping and manufacturing, such as tooling and molding,” said Ron Ellenbogen, Stratasys’ Senior Product Marketing Manager. ”We were able to build on the success of our triple-jetting technology and expand the Objet500 Connex family with two 3D production systems that we believe set new standards for 3D printing price performance.”