MakerBot’s clients can now use the Kimya ABS Kevlar, ABS-ESD and ABS-EC composites to fabricate parts with enhanced strength and conductive qualities compared to unfilled polymers. The materials’ producer ARMOR, also claims to have made significant cost savings by deploying them within its own facilities.
“The ability to 3D print Kimya composites on the MakerBot METHOD X has given us a unique combination,” said Pierre-Antoine Pluvinage, Business Director at ARMOR 3D. “In our own manufacturing facility, we’ve been able to replace several traditionally-manufactured parts with printed parts gaining a savings of up to 99.4% per part.”
MakerBot’s growing material portfolio
Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot is known as the manufacturer of the desktop METHOD, METHOD X and Carbon Fiber 3D printers. Since the launch of the METHOD X in 2019, the firm has focused on growing the material compatibility of its machines, as a means of making them applicable within a broader range of applications.
The METHOD X was fitted with an upgraded Circulating Heated Chamber, which made it compatible with ABS and SR-30, a soluble support from Stratasys. With the Carbon Fiber edition of the machine, the company then upped the chamber’s temperature to 110oC, and added a new extruder for abrasive composites.
In addition to improving on its systems, MakerBot has set up a Materials Development Program, in which its partners have qualified filaments for use with its platforms. Working with Mitsubishi Chemicals, for instance, has yielded METHOD compatibility with a PC bio-resin, while Polymaker has qualified a PolyMax PC.
Kimya is also one of the project’s partners, and it has now delivered three new ABS materials to MakerBot’s platforms, taking its total to 23 compatible materials. According to Johan-Till Broer, VP of Product Development at MakerBot, the addition of Kimya’s filaments further bolsters the METHOD X’s “industrial” credentials.
“The three new ABS composite materials from Kimya continue our expansion into advanced engineering materials that unlock new manufacturing applications,” said Broer. “The METHOD is the first truly industrial 3D printing platform in its price class, delivering higher precision and strength than [other] desktop 3D printers.”
Kimya ABS makes it to the METHOD X
With the latest upgrade to its METHOD systems, MakerBot’s lab team has qualified three of Kimya’s materials, that could provide enhanced functionality for its clients. The first of the composites, the ABS Kevlar, is a lightweight, durable filament that features strong stability, making it well-suited to producing jigs and fixtures.
With regards to Kimya’s other two filaments, the ABS-ESD and ABS-EC, both possess electronics-friendly characteristics. The former has Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) properties, meaning that any parts produced using the material, can be used safely around electronics systems without the risk of sparks causing any safety hazards.
Kimya’s ABS-ESD is also lightweight, rigid and possesses high printability, potentially lending it applications in the manufacture of electronics housings or fixtures. Finally, the newly-launched ABS-EC is reinforced with carbon nanotubes, which allows for the circulation of electrons along its surface, and makes it conductive.
Given that the filament also has impact, heat, and age-resistant qualities, it could be deployed within automotive electronics areas, such as producing touch sensors. All three are now available via MakerBot LABS, and the company recommends the use of its GEN 2 Experimental Extruder with the materials for optimal results.
MakerBot’s battle for desktop supremacy
Although MakerBot has invested heavily in growing its product ecosystem, it still faces stiff competition from the industry’s other desktop system manufacturers.
Formlabs released its larger-format 3L and 3BL 3D printers in September, featuring bio-resin compatibility. The company’s new machines are designed to target a more clinical clientele than MakerBot’s systems, by enabling the production of patient-specific end-use products.
Elsewhere, Ultimaker recently unveiled its Ultimaker 2+ Connect extrusion 3D printer at Formnext Connect. The upgraded machine features an integrated digital workflow that enables users to send print jobs via Wi-Fi or Ethernet to the company’s Digital Factory software.
Industrial 3D printer manufacturer Longer 3D, meanwhile, has launched its affordable Orange 30 desktop SLA 3D printer. Developed by the firm’s San Diego-based subsidiary, the system has been optimized for fabricating complex jewelry, dental and architectural models.
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Featured image shows MakerBot’s METHOD X alongside Kimya’s newly-compatible ABS composites. Image via Business Wire.