3D print has 2 common forms from the perspective of average people low-budget 3D printers using plastic and spectacular but incidental devices printing for example buildings. Meanwhile, the real "face" of additive technologies are specialistic and expensive industrial machines developing process of production in big companies. I would like to say something about one of the most impressive machines, which will revolutionise manufacturing of molds. Her it is - o VX4000 - a giant machine printing from sand with working area of 4 x 2 x 1 m.

Voxeljet is the only one company in the world manufacturing professional machines to create molds from sand. The product of this German concern are still called 3D printers, but in reality they are complicated productive systems bigger than a human or in size of industrial building!

The company debuted in 2013 on American stock exchange. Unfortunately, it didn't charm analysts, who stressed its poor (in their opinion) financial results. Andrew Left of Citron Research called voxeljet even a: "TOTAL F**KING JOKE". However, the company's income an sales have increased. Nowadays, it broadens its activity on American market and delivers machines which help to prepare molds extremely fast.

A device, which is the most interesting in the offer of the company is VX4000 with working area of 4 x 2 x 1 m. It is bigger from plenty of passenger cars (if we don't consider its height). The machine can be used to produce single, huge molds or a whole series of smaller ones. It was for example used to reconstruct Ferrari's 312P engine - a cult sport car from the turn of the 60s and the 70s.

The process of 3D printing is similar to popular CJP technology worked out buy Z Corporatio which is in the offer of 3D Systems. Sand is spread in the working chamber and than a special resin is sprinkled. Next layers are united together and create solid construction of the model. Because of the enormous working area and weight of sand, a working bed stays always at the same place (in CJP it goes down). The nozzle sprinkling resin moves in XYZ axis.

When you finish 3D printing, the sand which wasn't used, is removed and models are cleaned. You don't need to treat it additionally. The sand which wasn't used, can be used in the next process.

Key advantages of voxeljet technology are:

  • possibility to print ready molds only in one piece,
  • possibility to create complicated geometries, which are hard to achieve in another technologies,
  • huge working areas,
  • height of layer of 300 µm,
  • possibility to create molds from metals like: aluminium, brass, magnesium, steel or iron.

Voxeljet's machines can be used to create final forms or prototypes which can be used in the industry.

Source: www.voxeljet.de

Paweł Ślusarczyk
CEO of 3D Printing Center. Has over 15 years' experience in buisiness, gained in IT, advertising and polygraphy. Part of 3D printing industry since 2013.

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