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Managing Editor  | June 2017

Formlabs brings high-quality, automated 3-D printing to the desktop


During a presentation at the Digital Factory conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts-based 3-D printing company Formlabs introduced the Fuse 1, its first selective laser sintering (SLS) printer, and Form Cell, its automated production solution for additive manufacturing, which will make the creation of high-quality, 3-D printed products more accessible and more affordable.

 

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Formlabs has introduced a desktop SLS printer, the Fuse 1. (YouTube/Formlabs)

 

The Fuse 1 is a move away from the stereolithography (SLA) process that Formlabs brought to desktop users with its original Form 1 back in 2012. It will retail for $9,999, which is 20 times cheaper than an industrial SLS printer and reservations are currently being accepted for a unit with shipping expected by mid-2018.

 

The materials for the Fuse 1 are Nylon PA 12 and PA 11, which are standard for prototyping and end-use parts. The announcement added, “SLS produces the least expensive per-part cost in 3D printing and enables the production of large, geometrically complex prints without any supports.”

 

Form Cell allows for complete automation of the printing process to scaled production as cost-effective as possible. The company noted that Form 2 has already shown its effectiveness with more than 10 million printed parts.

 

“By enabling teams to easily iterate and also to directly manufacture final products, Fuse 1 and Form Cell open up a wealth of innovation flexibility within the product development cycle, from early prototyping to manufacturing,” said Dávid Lakatos, chief product officer of Formlabs.

 

The company also announced that Google is currently testing the system and it said that local footwear company New Balance had signed an agreement to use Form 2 to develop large-scale footwear manufacturing with 3-D printing technology.

 

Not surprisingly, this news spread quickly through the industry publications.

 

Engadget explained that SLS was a significant step forward in 3-D printing and would allow users to create more “polished and professional-looking products”. Engineering.com added, “By bringing a powerful technology like SLS to the desktop, Formlabs aims to expand access greatly to industrial-grade 3D printing.”

 

To learn more about the Fuse 1, watch the video below:


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