One of the advantages of the gradual deflation of the 3D printing hype bubble is that we can now witness the technology evolve in a more authentic, less marketing-driven way. Of course, there will still be startups looking to pop in and make a quick buck, but the hope is that the collective will be more immune to flashy websites and instead look for real developments in the space. The F400, the latest 3D printer from Fusion3, may be evidence of that, making no grand gestures towards the impossible, but introducing real upgrades to their line of 3D printers. Unveiled at Inside 3D Printing in New York today, the F400 is designed to be a solid improvement to Fusion3’s previous F306 model.
The F400 includes a number of features worthy of a professional-grade machine. These include a robust, fully enclosed print area measuring 1.46 cubic feet (14.2”×14.4”×12.6”). A rigid aluminum frame allows for stable printing, while an all-metal E3D hotend and multizone heated bed give the F400 the ability to 3D print a wide range of materials at well-regulated temperatures. The F400, running an open filament platform, has been tested with a number of filaments, with the Fusion3 team determining that it is compatible with most materials with melting temperature below 300°C. They admit, however, that some flexible filaments may not print properly. The Fusion3 team has certified and will continue to certify all of the materials that work with their machine.
Automatic bed leveling is achieved through a built-in, active IR sensor which measures the bed before printing, adjusting the Z-axis in real time to ensure proper distance from the printhead. The F400 is also programmed to shut down if its temperature sensor is dislodged and can pause mid-print if filament has run out. A 32-bit processor provides the F400 with print speeds 20% faster than the F306 at 250MM/sec, while maintaining the same quality or better with layer thicknesses as fine as 50 microns. Though the printer can be controlled through the 4.7″ touch screen, with 2GB of onboard storage through an included microSD card, it can also be managed online via ethernet connection. WiFi is optional. Also essential for a workplace or school environment is the optional HEPA/carbon filter system.
The F400 is currently available as in the form of the F400-S, single extruder model, and the F400-HFR (High Flow Rate) model. While the F400-S ($4,499) uses a .4 mm E3D v6 Hotend, the F400-HFR ($4,699) uses an E3D Volcano printhead with .8 mm nozzle, allowing for a 50% cut in print times over the F400-S. The machines are pre-assembled and calibrated at Fusion3’s factory ahead of shipping, but also come with a two-year warranty, just one year short of the three-year warranty provided by NVBOTS for the NVPro. Each machine is accompanied by a two-seat license for Simplify3D Creator, a favorite in the 3D printing industry with a $149 value. Customers receive free, lifetime support for every machine, as well.
The F400 is definitely billed as a professional machine, with most features that one would need in an educational or business environment. Chip Royce, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at Fusion3, elaborates, “Unlike the consumer 3D printing brands, we’re not a ‘one-size fits all’ manufacturer. Fusion3 has a laser focus on delivering affordable, high-performance 3D printers, with professional service & support for our business & education customers. Our customers range from small businesses and middle schools, to the largest companies & universities, as well as government entities who all require printers that can reliably deliver high quality prototyping and small-run manufacturing of plastic parts. Our ability to compete with the large industrial printers has been validated by our growing roster of blue-chip, Fortune 500 customers.”
The new machine is currently on display at Inside 3D Printing New York, but you can also learn more by contacting the manufacturer or visiting their website.