We had a chat with Maria Fatialofa of RPS about their NEO800 3D printer.
RPS is a UK-based firm that produces the NEO 800 industrial 3D printer, and we’ll get to that in a moment. What’s fascinating is RPS’ origin story.
Many times we’ve heard the story of an individual who was unsatisfied with the 3D printers of the day and set out to build a better machine, thus launching their new company. RPS’ story is similar, but with a twist. Apparently they began operations years ago as a support agency that provided repair service for machines.
During their work they frequently observed issues with machines, as one would when literally being called to fix broken devices. After seeing common failure patterns in machines, they set out to develop their own 3D printer that overcame such issues. The result was the NEO800, launched in 2017.
It is an SLA machine, where a 355nm laser is used to selectively solidify a photopolymer resin. There are plenty of machines of this type available, so what are the key differences with the RPS device?
One is the build volume. The NEO “800” has a rather large build volume of 800 x 800 x 600 mm. This enormous volume allows operators to 3D print large single objects and not be forced to break them into smaller pieces for post-print assembly.
The NEO800 is an open materials machine, with the ability to 3D print any 355nm photopolymer resin. Their software allows the operator to tweak all required print parameter settings to achieve print perfection.
High-Quality 3D Printing
Another major advantage is the print quality. RPS says the laser positioning is within 1 micron (that’s less than 0.001mm). This means that the prints produced on the system are of exceptionally fine initial quality, and thus the amount of post-processing effort to smooth the surface is decreased. RPS says you can typically count on a 50% reduction in post-processing.
We don’t doubt this claim after examining a print provided to us by RPS as seen at top. On their website they provide several images of similarly high-quality objects. Nicely done!
How do they achieve this quality? Aside from the usual rigid frame and robust motion system, RPS has devised an interesting laser feature: dynamic focusing.
The idea here is that as the laser sweeps across the plane of solidification, the beam length slightly increases towards the edges. This puts the beam’s illumination spot very slightly out of focus. Somehow RPS has developed a system that ensures the beam’s spot is always in perfect focus, thus enabling the creation of crisp shapes.
Production 3D Printer
The NEO800 is considered to be a production machine, as it has a massive resin capacity. The “Full Vat” takes an incredible 555L of resin, although they do offer smaller modes for smaller builds. This machine should be able to run continuously for a very long time.
Another important aspect is that the NEO800 has gained a number of features driven by the company’s original service focus. For example, the NEO800 is specifically designed to be easily serviced, exactly what you’d expect to happen if the service guys are in charge. There’s also “superb” analytics, according to RPS.
Of course, the machine also comes with an exceptional support program. They say:
“If required, highly skilled RPS engineers are available to support on-site the next business day* or via remote diagnostics to help when needed.”
3D Printer Leasing
The company recently announced they’ve made arrangements with the Trimax Collective to provide a leasing program for NEO800 customers. This enables operations to acquire the machine without the need to lay out all the cash in advance. If a customer can find a way to have the machine consistently make more money than the lease payments, then it’s an easy financial decision to make.
Finally, we are told that the company is adding resellers to their system. If you’re a reseller looking for a powerful industrial 3D printer for your clients, you might want to give RPS a call.
FELIXprinters has released a new bioprinter, the FELIX BIOprinter, which is quite a change for the long-time 3D printer manufacturer.