3D Printers

VSHAPER set to launch 5-axis 3D printer in May

Polish 3D printer manufacturer VERASHAPE has announced that it will be launching a new 3D printer under its VSHAPER subsidiary. Aptly named the VSHAPER 5AX, the 3D printer is a 5-axis system with additional machining capabilities. 

Equipped with FDM technology, VSHAPER is targeting customers seeking engineering applications of 3D printing with thermoplastic materials. The company designed the 5AX to 3D print in 5-axis in order to overcome the limits of the “conventional layer-by-layer printing method.” VSHAPER is set to premiere the 5AX in May this year. 

The VSHAPER 5AX 3D printer. Photo via VSHAPER.
The VSHAPER 5AX 3D printer. Photo via VSHAPER.

Origins of the 5AX 3D printer

VERASHAPE, based in Rzeszów, a city in southeastern Poland, is a provider of 3D printer and CAD/CAM software solutions. Its 3D printers are entirely sold through its VSHAPER division, developing systems that target the automotive, foundry, aerospace and medical industries.  Alongside VSHAPER 3D printers, VERASHAPE also provides seperate CAD/CAM software solutions for 3D milling, injection molding and sheet metal machining. 

News regarding the development of the VSHAPER 5-axis 3D printer originally surfaced over two years ago, when VERASHAPE revealed initial details of the system in 2017. Described as a 5-axis FDM system, the 3D printer was said to utilize a rotary working platform, and to have been produced with the support of Polish National Research and Development Center

In 2018, VERASHAPE then launched an open innovation program to aid the development of the 5AX. Explaining the reason behind the program, Tomasz Szymański, the founder and CEO of VERASHAPE and VSHAPER, stated at the time, “The conceptual work on the 5-Axis Machine continues, but we have decided to present its effects so that potential customers are included in the technology development process. We strive for the machine, that will become available to purchase in 2019, to meet the expectations of demanding production companies.”

CEO Tomasz Szymański receives VERASHAPE's innovation award. Photo via VERASHAPE.
CEO Tomasz Szymański receives VERASHAPE’s innovation award. Photo via VERASHAPE.

Why print on five axes?

Explaining the reason behind creating a system capable of 3D printing on all fives axes, VSHAPER claims that the central problem of 3D printing in industrial applications is the anisotropic nature of printouts caused by the conventional layer-by-layer FDM 3D printing process. This structure can cause 3D printed parts to maintain uneven strength, depending on the selected axis, and also requires support structures to maintain the model geometry, potentially wasting high-temperature thermoplastic material in the process. 

Seeking to overcome these limitations, the VSHAPER 5AX leverages a spinning and tilting build platform and indexed 5-axis printing that allows users to alter the base of the part to other flat planes on the model, therefore helping to reinforce various axes within one 3D printed component. Model planes are automatically adjusted according to the print head using the rotating platform, which enables filament deposition from different directions. VSHAPER claims that this therefore eliminates the need support the model with printed carrying structures. 

Additional features include the ability to attach 6 different tool heads to the system. The printing tool head is capable of working with multiple materials in one print job. Users can also leverage the finishing tool for post-processing, which can be fit with different heads for milling, drilling or burnishing. There is also a probing tool head, which allows users to receive data on the print job and measure the part as it is being completed. 

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured imahe shows the VSHAPER 5AX 3D printer. Photo via VSHAPER.