RS Components has introduced the latest version of the MakerBot 3D printer – the MakerBot Method – which has been designed to bridge the gap between industrial and desktop 3D printing. The unit targets engineers and designers who use 3D modelling software and need to create product prototypes rapidly for a range of purposes, such as to accelerate product development or to ensure the viability of parts before moving to volume production.
A key feature of the Method is its fast printing speed, which is up to two times faster than other popular desktop 3D printers, based on a range of tests using the same layer height and in-fill density settings. Use of the printer can save days or potentially weeks compared to the time taken to outsource prototyping via other additive manufacturing methods or CNC machining, for example.
Another major advantage is the unit’s industrial reliability and precision: for example, the Method has a circulating heated chamber, which controls the heat of each layer and delivers a dimensional accuracy of 0,2 mm, as well as improved layer adhesion and greater part strength. The unit also has a structurally optimised ultra-rigid metal frame that runs the full length of the body, which leads to more consistent prints with better part accuracy and fewer failures, as well as offsetting flexing or warping of printed objects.
The Method also comes with dual high-performance extruders, which offer lengthened thermal cores and optimised torque to maximise the material flow rate at high speeds. In addition, it has an industry-leading suite of sensors with a network of 21 intelligent devices embedded throughout to deliver enhanced control over the printing process.
Other specifications include: layer resolution from 400 down to 20 microns; maximum build volumes of 19 x 19 x 19,6 cm for single and 15,2 x 19 x 19,6 cm for dual-extrusion processes; and connectivity options including WiFi, Ethernet or USB drive. The printer is compatible with a range of leading CAD software packages including SolidWorks, Autodesk, CATIA, Rhino and TinkerCAD.
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