Raise3D announced the RMF500 today, a large-format device targeted at production applications.
Raise3D has produced a number of different professional 3D printers, including their latest E2CF and Pro 3 Series. But the new RMF500 is an entirely different machine for completely new purposes.
RMF500 Production 3D Printer
Some years ago I published my definition of a “production 3D printer”, and it appears that the RMF500 hits those points. The main feature of a production 3D printer is that it is capable of running continuously for very long periods, and the RMF500 can do exactly that.
To accomplish this, the RMF500 has space for up to four cartridges of material, each of which contains 2.5kg of filament material. The printer is able to automatically switch from one to another should the first spool run out. This means that an operator could refill the first spool while the second runs, and thus the machine could in theory run without stopping.
The RMF500 even has a high-mounted status light, suitable for use in workshops and factories.
The four spools are kept within the frame in a special storage chamber that keeps the material dry. This will also increase print quality and job reliability.
The RMF500 has a build volume of 500 x 500 x 500 mm, hence its name. This qualifies the device as “large format”, and it is possible to build large parts with it. If you 3D printed an object diagonally from corner to corner using support material, the maximum length could be as high as 700mm.
The hot end on the RMF500 is designed to handle high performance materials, including carbon fiber-reinforced filaments. This allows the RMF500 to end-use production parts for mechanically stressful applications. Raise3D said the RMF500 can process PA12 CF, PPA CF, PET CF and PPS CF.
Raise3D’s device specifications indicate the RMF500 can 3D print at speeds up to 300mm/second, which is quite fast. Non-printing movements can be as high as 1000mm/second, where sudden changes in direction can generate forces up to 2G’s.
Like several other Raise3D machines, the RMF500 is equipped with dual independent extruders, or “IDEX”. These can operate independently on the X-axis and offer different print modes. For example, a part could be printed twice, one part on each extruder. This feature can double part throughput without adding another printer.
There are two key features on the RMF500 that are a bit unusual.
First, the machine should have incredibly good print quality due to the use of high qualify components and a closed loop monitoring process. Raise3D said the X-Y motion system accuracy is an incredibly fine 0.001mm, while the Z-axis accuracy is even tighter at 0.0009765mm.
You can see how well this machine prints in this part produced on the RMF500 in the image above.
Another unique feature is that it does not have a heated build chamber. This is highly unusual for a production machine because engineering materials tend to warp due to a high thermal gradient between print and ambient temperatures. Heated build chambers reduce that gradient and therefore reduce or even eliminate warping.
Raise3D has taken a very different approach here. Instead of making the chamber fit the material, they have made the material fit the chamber. They explain:
“Raise3D’s material scientists insistently worked to determine the best materials for reliable, uninterrupted printing of strong end-use parts. The result is a carbon fiber reinforced filament with higher rigidity and lower shrinkage ratio, it does not need a heated chamber to avoid warping, as is so customary in 3D printing.”
One of the major benefits of this approach is that there is far less energy required by the printer. 3D printers with heated chambers are notoriously heavy consumers of electricity. Raise3D said the RMF500 requires only 120W for a single nozzle print job.
The announcement of this machine represents a major strategy shift for Raise3D. While their business has, up to now, been mostly professional devices and low volume manufacturing, the new RMF500 enables them to take a much bigger step into the world of manufacturing. It contains features no doubt demanded by their manufacturing clients and should attract new prospects as well.
It’s likely the company will pursue even larger production machines of this type after the RMF500. I think we may eventually see an RMF750 or RMF1000 at some point.