For manufacturers that require concept models, functional same-day prototypes or even low-volume direct production parts, the Engineering Technology Group
(ETG) has introduced the Figure 4 Standalone additive manufacturing (AM) machine manufacturered by US-based 3D Systems.
It is described as an ‘affordable and versatile solution’ with fast design iteration and verification that offers production speed — up to 100mm/hr, quality and accuracy with industrial-grade durability, service and support.
The Figure 4 Standalone enables manufacturers to expedite throughput and development cycles for businesses looking to reach output volumes of up to 500 parts per month. Figure 4 provides a scalable AM platform, companies requiring greater automation and throughput can look to Figure 4 Modular offering up to 10,000 parts per month for bridge or low-volume manufacturing.
The Figure 4 is considered ideal for a wide range of applications with its versatility that permits the end-user to use the same 3-D printer for rapid iteration, functional prototyping, design verification, end-user parts for low-volume production and replacement parts, digital texturing applications, jewellery casting patterns, rapid tooling moulds, master patterns, jigs and fixtures.
To cater for such a diverse range of applications, Figure 4 offers a variety of rigid materials for producing durable plastic parts with the look and feel of cast or injection-moulded components. The material range provides features that include fast print speeds, high elongation, exceptional impact strength, humidity and moisture resistance as well as long-term environmental stability.
The choice of materials includes TOUGH GRY 10 and 15, TOUGH BLK 20, ELAST BLK 10, FLX BLK 10, RUBBER 65A BLK and many more. Each material has specific properties that are perfectly engineered to meet the diverse demands of the industry. So, whether manufacturers are looking for tear strength, elongation, UV and environmental stability, biocompatibility, precision and surface finishes, abrasion resistance or indoor/outdoor performance, ETG has the material available to suit their exact needs.
From a technical viewpoint, the Figure 4 Standalone has a build volume of 124.8 x 70.2 x 196mm with a pixel resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. The FCC, CE and EMC certified machine packs all this into a compact overall footprint of just 68.1 x 70.4 x 135.6cm.
From an ease-of-use perspective, the Figure 4 Standalone includes file preparation and print management with the powerful 3D Sprint software, quick and easy material changes with a manual material feed, and a separate post-processing accessory available for curing.
It provides ease of build set-up, submission and job queue management, automatic part placement and build optimisation tools, part nesting capability, part editing tools, automatic support generation and job statistics.
The Figure 4 Standalone supports an extensive range of file formats that include STL, CTL, OBJ, PLY, ZPR, ZBD, AMF, WRL, 3DS, FBX, IGES, IGS, STEP, STP and X_T.
Powered by non-contact membrane technology, the AM machine offers quality and accuracy at six sigma repeatability, with exceptional surface finish and fine feature detail. With a compact and easy-to-use design, Figure 4 Standalone delivers industrial-grade durability, service, and support with an Advanced Service Exchange model and 3D Connect for proactive and preventative support.
For businesses that are looking for production capacity and unparalleled flexibility, 3D Systems has expanded upon the Figure 4 Standalone with the Figure 4 Modular and Figure 4 Production. The Modular and Production units that complete the Figure 4 family can be lined up in rows or cells to deliver a production capacity that has not yet been seen in the AM arena.