ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING: More Details on Arburg’s 3D Printer at NPE Show

Arburg is exploring high-temperature thermoplastics for its Freeformer.

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At NPE2015, Arburg (U.S. office newly moved to Rocky Hill, Conn.) provided two demonstrations of its new Freeformer 3D printer, which uses standard injection molding pellets. Operating without cooling water or compressed air, it has a three-axis moving part carrier and two stationary discharge units that can build a part with two components, one of which can be a water-soluble support material that allows creating parts with moving components, such as the keychain with a ball joint made at the show (orange part in photo). Another part made at the show was a flexible bellows, said to the be first part 3D printed in TPU (white part).

NPE kicked off marketing of the Freeformer in the U.S. More than 18 machines had already been sold in Europe. Arburg sources said customers have qualified 3D printed parts in ABS, PC, nylon 12, and TPE. Arburg is now starting work with PP and nylon 6. Customers are requesting higher temperature materials, so Arburg will also explore 3D printing with PEI and PEEK. Tests of printed parts indicate that tensile strength and modulus in the plane of the printed layers is 70-80% of an injection molded part; properties in the Z direction, perpendicular to the layers, is around 60%.