May 25, 2020
Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot introduces two additions to its METHOD platform of desktop 3D printers that bring nylon carbon fiber to desktop 3D printing. The METHOD and METHOD X Carbon Fiber Edition 3D printers print carbon fiber reinforced nylon. MakerBot says the new material is optimized for high strength, heat resistance and stiffness.
Nylon carbon fiber is increasing in popularity as an alternative to steel in many applications including manufacturing tools, jigs and fixtures, and various end-use production applications. These new MakerBot printers bring the versatility and value of nylon carbon fiber to the affordable desktop format.
Both printers have an identical build box of 25.6-in. high, 16.3-in. wide and 17.2-in. deep. The METHOD model is specifically suited for nylon carbon fiber; the METHOD model prints nylon carbon fiber plus a wide range of engineered composites.
MakerBot says both printers come preconfigured with a new composite extruder optimized for abrasive materials. It features hardened metal drive gears, a metal filament switch and an interchangeable hardened steel nozzle. This new extruder is available as an upgrade for existing METHOD and METHOD X 3D printers.
The company describes the new nylon carbon fiber as “an ideal lightweight alternative” to metal for structural applications such as vehicular brackets and inspection gauges, manufacturing tools such as robotic end effectors and under-hood applications. Carbon fiber is being increasingly used in various heavy manufacturing industries as an alternative to metal parts.
“Nylon carbon fiber is one of the most in-demand and exciting classes of materials. Its high strength, heat resistance and stiffness properties make it ideal for printing metal replacement parts, helping reduce costs and increase overall efficiency for companies,” says Nadav Goshen, president and CEO, MakerBot. “With the launch of METHOD Carbon Fiber, we are making composite 3D printing more accessible to more users than ever before and opening the door to new applications.”
MakerBot says the heated chamber produces “superior surface finish.” Complex geometries with internal cavities are possible using MakerBot’s PVA soluble support material. Support for final part annealing is also included. The METHOD printers use dry-sealed filament bays to keep the moisture-sensitive nylon carbon fiber dry.
MakerBot plans to offer additional composite materials in the near future. Because the METHOD X has a higher chamber temperature (110°C on the build plane), it will support a wider range of high-temperature composites than the METHOD.
MakerBot says it will begin shipments in June 2020.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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