3D printer manufacturer Formlabs has launched its first ever selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printer, the Fuse 1.
Marketed as the world’s first benchtop industrial SLS machine, the system is aimed at engineers, designers, and manufacturers looking for high-quality functional prototyping and end-use production at a fraction of the cost of traditional SLS. To complement the machine, Formlabs has also launched the Fuse Sift, a powder removal system for use with the Fuse 1, and its own line of Nylon 12 powder, covering every aspect of the SLS workflow.
“The Form 1 redefined stereolithography (SLA) printing for the additive manufacturing industry 10 years ago, and now the Fuse 1 is bringing the same reliability and accessibility standard that Formlabs customers expect of industrial 3D printing,” stated Max Lobovsky, CEO and co-founder of Formlabs. “SLS 3D printing shouldn’t be solely for those with big budgets, it needs to be accessible so all companies – from startup to big manufacturer – can benefit from the design freedom and high productivity SLS 3D printing provides.”
A decade of resin printing with Formlabs
Having debuted the original Form 1 almost a decade ago, Formlabs is considered a market leader in resin-based SLA 3D printers, with the Form 2 system on the lower end of the current offering. Powered by one 250mW laser, the Form 2 features a build volume measuring 14.5 x 14.5 x 17.5cm and a laser spot size of 140 microns.
For those seeking a little more precision, the flagship Form 3 offers an 85 micron laser spot and an air-heated print chamber. Alternatively, for customers looking to facilitate large part or high volume production, the larger Form 3L offers a build volume of 33.5 x 20 x 30cm. The company even manufactures its own Wash and Cure systems for the post-processing of resin parts.
The Fuse 1
Backed by over seven years of research and development, the Fuse 1 is intended to provide industrial-grade SLS printing in a benchtop package. The machine features a modular build chamber measuring 165 x 165 x 300mm, one that can be switched out after a build is finished to reduce downtime. The chamber is also compatible with the company’s new Fuse Sift device, enabling fully automated powder removal.
The system’s patent-pending Surface Armor technology works in conjunction with a 10W fiber laser to create semi-sintered shells during the printing process, protecting the surfaces of parts as they are fabricated. As a bonus, the machine is also compatible with up to 70% recycled powder, making it an attractive choice to the more environmentally-conscious users out there.
When printing with Formlabs’ Nylon 12 powder, users can expect parts with an ultimate tensile strength of 50MPa, a tensile modulus of 1850MPa, and an elongation at break of 11%. As such, the material is suitable for load bearing mechanical parts in high temperature environments, as the powder also has a heat deflection temperature of 171°C.
Matthew Mikosz, Founder of Partial Hand Solutions and a beta user of the Fuse 1, adds, “We previously used an outsourced injection-molding workflow to deliver prosthetic fingers to patients young and old, helping them improve mobility and increase functionality; but this process was extremely slow and did not allow for the personalization needed for each patient. Fuse 1 gives us the design freedom needed to truly customize our prosthetics and the high productivity and throughput necessary to quickly get this solution to our patients.”
Technical specifications and pricing
Below are the technical specifications for the Fuse 1. Priced at $18,499, the system is available to order now.
|Build volume||165 x 165 x 300mm|
|Material refresh rate||30% – 50%|
|Layer thickness||110 microns|
|Printer dimensions||645 x 685 x 1070mm|
|Laser||1065nm fiber laser, 10W|
|Laser spot size||200 microns|
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Featured image shows the Fuse 1 and Fuse Sift. Photo via Formlabs.