Carbon M1 3D Printer

Carbon splashed onto the 3D print scene last year when they announced a new method of dramatically speeding up the process of resin 3D printing by applying an oxygen-permeable layer to the bottom of their resin tank. This removed the need for lengthy and tedious “peel maneuvers” as required by most other resin prints.

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The Redwood City, California-based company, known for its innovative Continuous Liquid Interface Production Technology (CLIP), which in 2015 secured a $100 million investment from Google Ventures, has over the last year partnered with leading companies in various industries, including Kodak, Ford, andJohnson & Johnson. Now, with the exciting release of their first commercial 3D printer and a slew of new materials, the company’s astounding growth, and success are sure to continue.

In terms of its specs, the Carbon M1 3D printer boasts a building envelope of 144mm x 81mm x 330mm and features a build platform made from billet aluminum, a foot-activated build area door, an oxygen-permeable window cassette, and a high performance LED light engine. Additionally, the new 3D printer is Internet-connected, allowing for the latest in features, performance enhancements, and resins to be instantly available to the M1’s users. The Carbon M1 3D printer is also capable of collecting more than 1 million process control data points a day. In practice, this means that Carbon can provide remote assistance and diagnostics to the printer to help optimize your prints and improve them over time.

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Similar to existing stereolithography (SLA) rapid prototyping processes, the Carbon M1 3D printer uses an ultraviolet (UV) light projector under a light-sensitive resin pool. As the platform moves upward, the projector moves light along cross sections of the liquid polymer, solidifying it as it goes and forming objects.

The new UV curable materials unveiled by Carbon are the following:

  • Rigid Polyurethanes (RPUs) whose stiffness, strength, and ability to handle stress make them ideal for consumer electronics, automotive parts, and industrial components.
  • Flexible Polyurethane (FPU) whose semi-rigidity and resistance towards impact, abrasion, and fatigue are useful for applications and parts which bear repetitive stresses (like hinges and friction fits).
  • Elastomeric Polyurethane (EPU) with elastic properties under cyclic tensile and compressive loads, and high tear and impact resistance.
  • Cyanate Ester-based resin (CE), a high-performance material with heat deflections up to 219°C (426°F) ideal for under-the-hood applications, electronics, or industrial components.
  • Prototyping Resin (PR) a quick printing, high-resolution material meant to withstand “moderate functional testing”. The latter is available in six colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, black, white, and gray.

maxresdefault.jpg The difference between CLIP and traditional SLA is that instead of a UV light or laser drawing the design on each layer of the liquid polymer pool, CLIP projects an entire cross section of the object across the pool, something akin to a slideshow that hardens the object continuously as the build platform rises. Unlike SLA methods, CLIP carefully balances the UV light with oxygen – the light cures the resin while the oxygen inhibits that reaction. This results in a far more gentle process, capable of producing “isotropic”, or layer-less parts, according to Phelps.

The difference between CLIP and traditional SLA is that instead of a UV light or laser drawing the design on each layer of the liquid polymer pool, CLIP projects an entire cross section of the object across the pool, something akin to a slideshow that hardens the object continuously as the build platform rises. Unlike SLA methods, CLIP carefully balances the UV light with oxygen – the light cures the resin while the oxygen inhibits that reaction. This results in a far more gentle process, capable of producing “isotropic”, or layer-less parts, according to Phelps.

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