Markforged gained international fame by introducing 3D printing technology using continuous carbon fiber in 2014. The idea is to embed extremely strong strands of continuous carbon fiber into polyamide, which significantly increases the strength of the printed part. What distinguishes this method from the popular 3D printing from plastic and carbon fiber composites is the fact that the fiber is not atomized and mixed with the base polymer, but retained in its original form.

Markforged 3D printers are equipped with a "classic" thermoplastic 3D printing head and a special head extruding pure carbon fiber strands, embedded in the base material. Markforged's base material was polyamide (nylon) or the proprietary Onyx material. With the premiere of the new 3D printer - FX20, the range of materials is expanded with another, extremely durable material - ULTEM 9085.

ULTEM is one of the most durable plastics used in industry and additive manufacturing. It has the following properties:

  • has extreme resistance to high temperatures
  • it is very resistant in terms of impact strength
  • it is chemically very resistant
  • it is relatively light.

Unfortunately, the material has one disadvantage - it is printed at very high temperatures, at the level of 350-400°C and in a closed working chamber, at a temperature of 150-180°C. The vast majority of 3D printers available on the market are not able to efficiently process ULTEMU and it is in fact reserved for selected models of industrial class machines.

The Markforged FX20 is supposed to be the answer to these challenges. The working chamber is supposed to heat up to 200°C and the working area is an impressive 525 x 400 x 400 mm. Additionally, the manufacturer says the machine is expected to print up to eight times faster than the default print settings on Markforged's existing line of composite printers.

The FX20 is expected to go on sale in the first half of 2022.

Source: Markforged press materials

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