Hybrid's Ambit PE-1 Enables Polymer 3D Printing on Machine Tools

Rapid 2018: The polymer extrusion head supports the manufacture of near-net parts, tooling, jigs and fixtures. 
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Hybrid Manufacturing has announced a patented approach for polymer extrusion in a machine tool, developed with the support of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (ORNL’s MDF).

The Ambit PE-1 is pellet-fed and said to offer volumetric deposition rates as much as 200 times that of desktop polymer extrusion printers. High deposition rates are achieved by using an extruder to plasticize thermoplastic composite materials, enabling print rates not that are not practical with conventional filament-fed heads, the company says. The extrusion head enables the rapid production of near-net parts, tooling, jigs and fixtures.

When coupled with machining, the PE-1 extruder eliminates the stair-stepped surface finish inherent in polymeric material extrusion. According to Hybrid Manufacturing, this encourages even higher deposition rates and makes industrial production practical.

These heads offer a wider selection of feedstock suppliers and materials by leveraging the same pellet feedstock form used for injection molding. Pellets are typically significantly less costly than filament feedstock materials, the company says.