3D Printers

ZMorph’s Hybrid 3D Printer Creates Mechanical Watch Using PLA, CNC, and Laser Toolheads

Since releasing their 2.0 S hybrid desktop 3D printer late in 2014, ZMorph has set a new stage for the 3D printing industry by engineering a printer that can utilize eleven swappable toolheads. With the ability to use PLA, CNC milling, laser cutting, and other printing styles all in one machine, ZMorph’s engineering team has successfully figured out to how fit a handful of technologies in a compact desktop printer, and has even helped aid Polish engineers in designing a 2,000 ton bridge earlier this Fall. One recent case study conducted by architect and designer Matt Olczyk (on the ZMorph 2.0 S) has further proven the value of these new-age hybrid desktop 3D printer, as he successfully designed and created his Custom Mechanical Watch project using three different ZMorph toolheads all on one machine.

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Switching between a plastic extruder 1.75 mm toolhead, a CNC PRO milling toolhead, and a Laser toolhead, Olczyk was able to save time and money by manufacturing his design on the ZMorph 2.0S. Olczyk printer the mechanical watch in 80 different total parts, each toolhead played a crucial role in creating this fascinating watch. The plastic extruder was used to print smaller complex parts that are more susceptible to mechanical wear and tear, while the CNC milling toolhead manufactured the lightweight gears that are visible through the watch’s plexiglass surface. Finally, the laser cutting toolhead was used to cut the clock numbers through the plexiglass and into the black adhesive foil placed within the watch. Aside from a couple of screws and chains, every part of the Custom Mechanical Watch project was manufactured on the ZMorph 2.0 S through Voxelizer Software.

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“ZMorph not only did a good job on handling different technologies and materials, but also on precision and accuracy,” said Olczyk. “All parts fit together perfectly and as designed: CNC parts, 3D printed parts and parts produced with industrial technologies like bearings, bike chains. The clock turned out great!”

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Before hybrid printers such as the 2.0 S hit the market, 3D printing technology was a turn off to some due to the previous limitations in material and mechanical capabilities. But as these printers become more advanced and all-encompassing, designers and engineers from every industry are starting to recognize 3D printing as a viable and versatile method of manufacturing. Olczyk’s Custom Mechanical Watch case study has further proven that by combining each facet of 3D printing into one machine, entire projects can be printed quickly and frugally all on one print bed.

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