Dubbed Atmosphere, the device communicates with Gravity’s software to create a more stable thermal environment for SLS 3D printing to take place. The handy add-on reportedly results in increased part densities, improved surface finishes, and a healthy mechanical performance boost.
Robert Kniola, Wematter’s founder, and CEO, explains, “Some manufacturers solve the climate aspect with complicated infrastructure, others solve it with a gas tube, which entails a great safety risk. We have a stand-alone system that is safe for the user from a work environment point of view. It will be a safer alternative than, for example, just connecting a nitrogen generator.”
Just plug in and play
Intended as a modular plug and play unit, users can get Atmosphere up and running by plugging it into a standard wall outlet and connecting it to a Gravity 3D printer. In a bid to ensure user-friendliness and product safety, Wematter has crafted the device so it does not require any additional ventilation or air compression equipment. Atmosphere’s frame measures 770 x 830 x 410mm and weighs 80kg in total.
It works by regulating the air already found in the room and does not need any other consumable substances to run. By connecting to Gravity’s Deep Space software at the start of every print job, Atmosphere starts automatically and serves its purpose with no user input.
Kniola adds, “It is very fun to see, after several years of development, the results of our hard work and that the response from the market is so positive. Atmosphere will be another part of making our ecosystem scalable. Our customers will be able to modularly upgrade their equipment with the features that suit the company’s operations.”
The benefits of Atmosphere
By generating minimal heat variations, Atmosphere enables users to increase their part densities without the risk of multi-component builds fusing. As a result, printed parts are more durable, and the remaining unsintered material in the powder bed experiences less wear, meaning it can be reclaimed using the company’s Inertia powder collection device and reused to a greater degree without sacrificing mechanical properties. When printing with white polymer powders, this also results in whiter parts due to a lack of discoloration.
In figures, this means a strain at break improvement of 70% when employing the help of Atmosphere with recycled powders. The company states that its latest piece of hardware is, therefore, an “important component in Wematter’s work for sustainable manufacturing”, as it serves to reduce the amount of raw powder consumed while promoting cost-effective production. Atmosphere will be available from spring of 2021 as an optional add-on for the Gravity 2021 3D printer.
Also breaking into the office-friendly SLS market, 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs recently launched its first-ever powder bed fusion 3D printer, the Fuse 1. Marketed as the world’s first benchtop industrial SLS machine, the system is aimed at engineers, designers, and manufacturers looking for high-quality functional prototyping and end-use production at a fraction of the cost of traditional SLS.
Elsewhere, at ETH Zurich, ten students recently used Sintratec’s worktop SLS technology to design and manufacture a fully functional prototype of an electric motorcycle. The project took just one year from concept to assembly and was reportedly motivated by environmental sustainability.
Looking for a career in additive manufacturing? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.
Featured image shows the Wematter Atmosphere, Gravity 3D printer, and Density cleaning cabinet. Photo via Wematter.