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Mission Impossible

Impossible Objects Launches Composite-Based “Model One” 3D Printer

Picture of Hanna Watkin
by Hanna Watkin
May 12, 2017

Impossible Objects launches the Model One composite-based 3D printer at the RAPID+TCT 2017 conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Over the last several years, the Illinois company Impossible Objects has been developing its composite-based additive manufacturing (CBAM) technology.

Now, they’re incorporating this process into their first pilot 3D printer, the Model One. Impossible Objects claim that this technology can work with high quality materials, including carbon fibre, Kevlar, and fiberglass with high performance polymers like PEEK.

This machine will aim to provide exceptional functionality, quick production times, and strengthened parts. Users can customize parts that are heat or chemical-resistance parts, stiff, flexible, and more.

The Model One boasts faster production speeds than other 3D printing technologies, enabling mass production and repeatability.

They have launched this new printer at the RAPID+TCT 3D printing and additive manufacturing event in Pittsburgh. This event is one of the premier 3D printing conferences, offering insight from industry leaders and showcasing the latest product developments.

So far, the Model One is generating a ton of buzz. Robert Swartz, chairman and founder of Impossible Objects explains:

“We’ve seen tremendous interest from a range of companies who want the advantages of 3D printing for their high-volume manufacturing and for materials they cannot get elsewhere. Until now, there was no way to print functional parts with the mechanical and material properties at the scale these companies need. The Model One is just the beginning of what CBAM can do. Our CBAM technology has the potential to transform manufacturing as we know it.”

At first, the printer will only be shipped off to a select few Fortune 500 companies. However, in early 2018, the Model One will also become commercially available.

Impossible Objects Pilot Program

Impossible Objects believe this printer could transform high-volume composite manufacturing. This is thanks to being able to quickly develop 3D printed functional parts, at scale, with a wide selection of materials.

Using the CBAM technology, the company claims that their printer can produce parts that are ten times stronger than current printers on the market allow.

This unique process uses conventional thermal inkjet heads to produce designs upon sheets of composite materials. Each sheet is fully coated with a polymer powder, such as nylon or PEEK, causing the powder to stick where inkjet fluid has been deposited.

After that, a vacuum removes excess powder and the sheets fuse together, following with a compression and heating process. Once this polymer powder melts away, the sheets bond with one another.

Finally, the leftover fibers undergo mechanical or chemical removal, leaving behind a durable and lightweight object. Impossible Objects believes that the final product is impossible to make as quickly and inexpensively with other processes.

Thus far, the international manufacturing company Jabil is one of the first pilot program partners. Jabil’s senior director of AM Ecosystem Development and Strategy, Greg Ojeda explains:

“We’ve identified applications where Impossible Objects could deliver a competitive advantage and significant cost savings over conventional manufacturing processes. We are excited to take part in Impossible Objects’ pilot program and look forward to working with the Impossible Objects’ team.”

Source: tct Magazine

License: The text of "Impossible Objects Launches Composite-Based “Model One” 3D Printer" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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