3D Platform announced a new type of high-performance extruder for their massive 3D printers, the HFA series.
3D Platform specializes in large-scale 3D printers, with their flagship the Work Series having build volumes of up to 1m on a side. They also have far larger equipment in the works to be released later.
One of the issues they immediately encountered when producing large 3D prints is the time required to complete the prints. As everyone using 3D printers knows, you want to minimize the time of prints to reduce the possibility of something going wrong.
3D Platform’s first solution to this was to offer swappable nozzles. In this way a client could put in a much larger nozzle to extrude material at a far greater rate. It’s surprising how effective a nozzle change can be. Consider the standard 0.4mm nozzle used on most machines has an area of 0.125 sq mm. But a 1.0mm nozzle has an area of 0.785 sq mm, over six times greater! That means 3D prints can occur potentially six times faster as up to six times the material is deposited in the same movement.
That was a very good and easy way to dramatically speed up large prints. But what’s next?
The answer from 3D Platform turned out to be more complex. They had to design an extruder and hot end that was able to deliver even more material at a faster rate, regardless of the nozzle size.
They came up with the HFA Extruder. The “HFA” stands for High Flow Air, as the design includes some powerful cooling ability.
3D Platform says the design doubles the effective volumetric delivery of plastic from their previous design. How much? they say it can hit 35 cubic mm per second, or close to 3D printing a solid 5cm block in an hour (and much larger if it isn’t solid).
The HFA extruder does work with a teeny 0.4mm nozzle, but why would you do that when this beast can handle a 2.5mm nozzle, perhaps the largest I’ve heard of in this market. Note: the 2.5mm nozzle’s area is 4.9 sq mm, almost 40x the size of the 0.4mm nozzle, and more than 6X the 1.0mm nozzle mentioned above.
3D Platform claims the HFA extruder is designed for long and continuous production use, which makes sense given the machine it’s intended for.
While the HFA Extruder can print large objects quickly at coarse resolution, it can also achieve resolutions typical of much smaller machines: 0.05mm, probably by using the 0.4mm nozzle.
3D Platform includes the new extruders on their 300 Series Workbench Pro, and also available as an upgrade to lesser models in that series.
Via 3D Platform