The company’s debut prototype is a delta extrusion-based 3D printer operating on AB-3D’s Fused Layer Modeling (FLM) process. Interestingly, the D-PATCH is equipped with an automatic tool changer system that enables the machine to 3D print with up to five different materials in a single print job.
Geared more towards higher performance applications, the D-PATCH is capable of processing filaments such as PETG, TPU, PA, PC, and even ceramic- and metal-infused composites. As such, the 3D printer goes beyond just multi-color prints and into the realm of multi-functional parts, with use cases in both functional prototyping and end-use production.
Multi-material delta 3D printing with AB-3D
The combination of toolchanging and delta FDM isn’t one we often see in the 3D printing industry. Delta coordinate systems differ from the common cartesian setup as the printhead moves in all three axes (XYZ) while the print bed stays completely stationary. Beyond just the aesthetics, delta printers are actually known for their faster travel and print speeds, since the weight of the single printhead is divided between the three motors.
Despite the company’s infancy, AB-3D’s FLM technology has already proven itself in the academic sphere, having been used by the Coburg University of Applied Sciences for research projects.
The D-PATCH also reached the semi-finals of a local German 3D printing competition with the additive manufacturing of a multi-material industrial part.
The D-PATCH 3D printer
As far as initial prototypes go, the D-PATCH actually looks like a fairly competent piece of kit. The delta machine features a cylindrical build volume of Ø300 x 400 mm, with a heated build plate and an enclosed chamber capable of maintaining temperatures of 60°C. Users will be able to choose from a selection of print surface options, including PEI coated spring steel, glass, BuildTak, and FR4/G10 glass fiber epoxy.
Although the machine only has one printhead, the integrated tool changer works to switch between five different filaments on the fly, allowing for the production of multi-material, multi-functional builds.
To enable printing with those higher-performance filaments, the D-PATCH also offers a high nozzle temperature of 450°C. Users will even be able to substitute out the default nozzle for another one better suited to their needs – the list of options includes brass, stainless steel, nickel-plated copper, and more.
Additional features include Wi-Fi connectivity, automated bed leveling, a filament runout sensor, power loss recovery, and even a particle filtration system for safe and comfortable indoor use.
Technical specifications and pricing
Below are the technical specifications for the AB-3D D-PATCH. The 3D printer is currently in the prototype phase, with a commercial launch on the horizon.
|Build volume||300 (d) x 400mm|
|Bed temperature||Up to 120°C|
|Nozzle temperature||Up to 450°C|
|Chamber temperature||Up to 60°C|
|Print speed||Up to 200mm/s|
|Toolheads||Up to 5|
|Nozzle diameter||0.2 – 2mm|
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Featured image shows AB-3D’s Adrian Beetz handing the D-PATCH prototype over to the Coburg University of Applied Sciences. Photo via AB-3D.