Zortrax’s new resin 3D printing & post-processing system introduces innovative solutions that cater to the needs of professional resin 3D printing users. So far, resin 3D printing has often been associated with producing prototypes due to a relatively low resistance of models, whereas the target parts were supposed to be 3D printed with high-grade engineering materials using FDM technology. It does not have to be so, anymore. Now, with the durable engineering resins, which are functional equivalents of most resistant filaments, one can successfully print both prototypes and final models using resin 3D printing only.
The first staple of the resin 3D printing system is Inkspire 2, a high-end UV LCD 3D printer with 192 x 120 x 280 (mm) workspace. It has been designed to work with quality resins, and to ensure an easy, automated, and user-friendly operation at the same time. A cutting-edge proprietary light engine, developed entirely in-house by Zortrax, provides the same levels of UV exposure across the entire platform, so the users achieve the same print quality, regardless of whether the models are placed in the center or on the edges of the platform.
While Zortrax engineers were developing the Inkspire 2, resin manufacturers actively participated in its testing at the prototype stage. The printing parameters for every supported engineering resin, introduced to the portfolio, have been thoroughly validated to certify that mechanical and thermal properties achieved in parts 3D printed on the Inkspire 2 match or even exceed those declared by the manufacturer. Moreover, thanks to high power light source implemented in the machine, the users can even 3D print with some resins dedicated to DLP technology. Overall, there are four resin lines, dedicated to the Inkspire 2: elastomeric resins, rigid/tough resins, castable resins and basic resins. The list is going to be expanded in the future.
Although Inkspire 2 is more advanced than its predecessor, it is easier to operate. The automation of most processes also makes operating this machine cleaner and more convenient. A resin level sensor measures the amount of resin needed to 3D print a certain model – if there is not enough liquid in the resin vat, the 3D printer informs the user about it. Therefore, the user’s engagement in the whole process is minimized. Inkspire 2 also has closed air circulation. HEPA filters, installed in the printer, absorb chemical particles during printing, reducing the unpleasant smell. Vapors created during 3D printing do not escape the machine through gaps, but they are filtered by an advanced filtering system.
Inkspire 2 is accompanied by the automated ecosystem for professional post-processing. Zortrax Cleaning Station’s main purpose is to remove excess resin from the models’ surfaces, as well as nooks and crannies, whereas Zortrax Curing Station provides crucial UV curing once resin 3D printing and cleaning have been completed. Cleaning the prints is necessary to preserve the models’ dimensional accuracy. Additional UV curing is vital for most resins to achieve their target mechanical properties.
Zortrax Cleaning Station, due to its high-volume tank, can clean relatively large models, 3D printed on nearly any resin 3D printer available on the market. Thanks to a special filtering system, IPA can be safely reused for multiple cleaning sessions. An industrial class curing chamber in Zortrax Curing Station, in turn, provides consistent UV exposure, enhanced by a rotating table and ensures that the models are free of any weak spots caused by insufficient UV exposure.
Zortrax Cleaning Station and Zortrax Curing Station, just like Inkspire 2, have been validated by top resin manufacturers. BASF Forward AM and Henkel/Loctite post-processed the sample 3D prints and then tested them to confirm they are compliant with all the properties declared for the applied resin. Moreover, these devices can operate independently of the 3D printer with different technologies, such as UV LCD, DLP and SLA.
The technological advances, introduced in the Inkspire 2, translate into a huge step forward in Zortrax UV LCD solutions. Compared to previous generation Inkspire 3D printer, the refined resin 3D printing system has:
7x more powerful UV light engine
40% more uniform UV light distribution
4x more build volume