We first encountered the “SLABot” in January where we were shown a rough prototype of a new style of 3D printing automation by 3D Systems.
That was a previous version; the current version is improved - and the company expects to continue to improve the system.
But what is it? It’s a robotic system for automating the 3D printing and finishing processes typically done manually for SLA-style production.
The current SLABot 2 system involves SIX 3D printers, which can simultaneously print unique objects. The SLABot essentially holds the build tray during printing and then is able to move it - and the newly printed objects - to another work station for subsequent processing.
SLA 3D printing often requires post processing steps such as an alcohol bath, ultrasonic cleaning and curing. All of these can be included on a SLABot configuration. It’s also possible to include other processing units as well, such as painting, dryingor other processes.
One interesting idea is to include a quality check station, where printed and processed objects are precisely measured to ensure they meet specifications. If they don’t, SLABot can automatically drop them in the reject pile.
The company said they’re working on “SLABot 3”, which will have “more stuff”.
I believe this is a powerful idea, because the system can be configured to match a manufacturers needs precisely by not only including the correct type of processing units, but also the right quantities to ensure very smooth production takes place.
But does it work? Oh yes. Take a look at the image at top, where the poor operator is literally drowning in test prints. Yes, it works.
Via 3D Systems