The First High Temperature Continuous Carbon Fiber 3D Printer Is Coming

By on December 2nd, 2019 in printer

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 Anisoprint CEO Fedor Antonov beside the new ProM IS 500 high temperature continuous carbon fiber 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]
Anisoprint CEO Fedor Antonov beside the new ProM IS 500 high temperature continuous carbon fiber 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Anisoprint announced a new device, the ProM IS 500, which not only prints with continuous carbon fiber, but also can handle high temperature materials.

The Russian company is known for their continuous carbon fiber 3D printers, one of the very few options available for making parts in that way.

Continuous Carbon Fiber

One of the strongest materials known to humanity is carbon fiber, but its strength is often greatly diminished in 3D printing because it’s used in chopped form within composite filaments. However, Anisoprint developed a system that can deploy fully intact threads of carbon fiber throughout a 3D print, making them extraordinarily strong. Even a few threads can dramatically increase the strength of a part.

Up until now continuous carbon fiber 3D printing was available only with lower temperature materials, most typically nylons. While the combination of nylon and continuous carbon fiber is quite attractive for many applications, one area it falls short is in more extreme environments, typically where high heat exposure or chemical resistance are required.

In such environments other high performance industrial materials are most frequently used. This burgeoning demand has resulted in the emergence of many new high temperature 3D printers capable of handling engineering materials such as PEEK, PEKK or ULTEM. But none have combined the strength of continuous carbon fiber into the prints.

Now Anisoprint has leveraged their experience with continuous carbon fiber 3D printing to develop a new, large device that can do both high temperature materials and continuous carbon fiber 3D printing. The machine is the ProM IS 500.

Pro M IS 500 Specifications

Anisoprint is positioning device as an industrial machine, and thus has included a number of high-end internal components. For example, the machine uses servo motors typically found in industrial CNC equipment. They have also updated the control boards and other aspects.

The ProM IS 500 will perform automated calibration of the print surface as well as extrusion offsets and material flow.

Importantly, the ProM IS 500 includes a drying chamber to store filament spools up to 2kg in size. This will ensure much more reliable 3D printing of exotic materials that typically degrade quickly upon exposure to the atmosphere.

ProM IS Materials

Anisoprint says the machine will not be an open materials machine, as they are targeting the highest quality prints with the device. This means they must know the precise chemistry of the input materials and apparently will be supplying these materials for those using their equipment.

Surprisingly, Anisoprint has designed the ProM IS 500 to include a tool changer. There are four tools at the moment:

  • Two tool heads for thermoplastic extrusion, one for model material and one for support material

  • Two tool heads for continuous carbon fiber layout, with differing fiber diameters

The print bed is A2 size (600 x 420 mm), and the Z-height can reach 300mm. This makes for a rather large build volume that can accommodate quite large parts, particularly if you orient them along the diagonal of the build chamber.

Anisoprint High Temperature

Regarding the high temperature capabilities, the ho end on the ProM IS 500 can reach 400C, enabling 3D printing of a wide variety of materials. The build chamber itself can be heated to a high 160C to dramatically reduce warping of ULTEM, PEEK or other such materials.

Anisoprint says the ProM IS 500 can 3D print at the rate of about 60cc per hour, making it a reasonably fast machine. This should match well with their target market of large jigs & fixtures, which are printed on demand for factory lines.

ProM IS 500 Cost

The ProM IS 500 is not yet available, but Anisoprint is currently seeking pilot customers willing to give the machine a good test. These early customers will receive a substantial discount, paying about €100,000 (US$110,000), whereas when the machine is released in about year, the price will be in the €150-200,000 (US$165-220,000) range.

Via Anisoprint

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!