Announced at Formnext 2023, Fuse Blast automates additive part cleaning and polishing, promising finished 3D-printed products in 15 minutes.
When 3D printing technology started going mainstream—which was around the time people started talking enthusiastically about additive manufacturing (AM)—there was a belief that, eventually, all we’d need to do is press a few buttons to get freshly printed, finished products. Unfortunately, as often happens with novel technology, the reality turned out to be more complicated.
Post-processing of 3D-printed parts has been gaining more attention in recent years as manufacturers come to recognize the effort and cost required to get parts ready for market. Now, Formlabs is aiming to revive the dream of easy 3D printing with a new post-processing system called Fuse Blast. Announced at this year’s Formnext, the system is designed to reduce labor and overhead costs by automating part cleaning and polishing for selective laser sintering (SLS).
According to the company, Formlabs’ Fuse 1 Series of 3D printers account for almost half of all the powder bed fusion (PBF) machines sold worldwide since the Fuse 1 launched in 2020. Formlabs also claims its new system can reduce post-processing time by 80 percent, delivering finished parts in as little as 15 minutes. Taken together, these claims suggest that Fuse Blast should make a big splash on the global SLS ecosystem.
So, how does it actually work?
Essentially, the Fuse Blast system consists of an automatic tumbler and in-line ionizer, which means it can remove semi-sintered and loose powder and prevent dust from resettling on parts once they’re cleaned. It also includes pre-programmed settings for multi-material cycles and specialty materials—a setting for Nylon 12GF powder, for example, is designed to remove strong surface armor while the “Delicate” option is designed for a gentler tumble cycle. The Fuse Blast Polishing System is an optional upgrade that provides a semi-gloss finish to parts to make them smooth, scuff-resistant and dye-ready.
“Combined with our newest software updates, we’re continuing to streamline the SLS 3D printing process so Formlabs users can print high-quality parts faster,” said Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer at Formlabs in a press release. According to the press release, Fuse Series software updates include:
- A 30 percent increase in print speeds for Nylon 12 Powder on Fuse 1+ 30W printers.
- Improved packing algorithm for better packing density, reducing powder waste by an average of 42 percent.
- Better part resolution for Nylon 12 Powder on the Fuse 1+ 30W to create thin walls, pins, struts and embossed text.
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