5/10/2017 | 1 MINUTE READ

Impossible Objects Pilots Model One 3D Printer

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Multi-material 3D printer combines composite sheets and polymer powder to build strong, lightweight parts.

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Impossible Objects is launching Model One, its pilot 3D printing machine intended for high-volume manufacturing of strong, lightweight parts, with initial deployments at select Fortune 500 customers. 

According to the company, the Model One is designed to 3D print functional parts, at scale, using a wide selection of materials. Suitable for prototyping through high-volume production, the Model One is said to be capable of printing parts as much as 10 times stronger than other printers, and at speeds faster than other additive manufacturing technologies and traditional composite lay-up techniques. 

The printer works using Impossible Objects’ composite-based additive manufacturing method (CBAM), which uses conventional thermal inkjet heads to print designs on sheets of composites such as carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass. Each sheet is then flooded with a polymer powder, such as nylon or PEEK, causing the powder to stick where inkjet fluid has been deposited on the sheets. Excess powder is vacuumed off and the sheets are stacked, compressed and heated. The polymer powder melts and bonds the sheets together. The uncoated fibers are then mechanically or chemically removed, and what remains is a durable, lightweight object. Because of the composite make-up, users will be able to customize heat and/or chemical-resistant properties, stiffness, flexibility and other attributes. 

The Model One will become generally available to the public by early 2018. Interested companies that wish to be considered earlier for the pilot program can email Impossible Objects.

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