Wematter announced a new system that increases 3D printed part quality significantly.
The “Atmosphere” is not a 3D printer, but rather is a special add-on for their Gravity SLS systems. They describe the Atmosphere as a “chamber regulation unit”:
“Wematter Atmosphere provides improved control of build chamber conditions in the SLS 3D-printer Gravity for increased part density, surface finish, and mechanical performance.”
Atmosphere appears to be an accessory for the Gravity 3D printer; it can be added to existing units. I was told Atmosphere has been included in all new shipments from the company, although they add that it is possible to order a more “basic” system without the Atmosphere and then add it in later as an upgrade.
It’s also possible to upgrade older previously shipped Gravity systems with the Atmosphere hardware.
Wematter touts the Gravity SLS 3D printer as able to produce the strongest SLS 3D prints. They accomplish this through a precise combination of hardware and powder materials, along with specific 3D print parameters specified through their custom Deep Space software.
However, it seems that the Atmosphere unit, which evidently provides a means to precisely control the ambient conditions in the build chamber, can definitely increase visual quality. See the image at top to compare a non-Atmosphere 3D print with one that used Atmosphere.
A side effect of Atmosphere’s precise control is that the powder is less affected by 3D printing chamber conditions. This allows for higher ratios of powder reuse, and in theory this might eventually pay for the cost of the Atmosphere unit.
Since Wematter rents machines to clients, the addition of Atmosphere means there will be an additional monthly fee.
I noticed there’s a spacey pattern in Wematter’s product naming conventions: Gravity, Deep Space and now “Atmosphere”. However, the official name for the new product is “Atmosphere 2021”. I asked why Wematter put a year on the name, and their Marketing Communications Director David Boström answered:
“This is the first time we’re introducing the Atmosphere. The year model in the name comes from our concept of upgrading our equipment on a yearly basis through our subscription service. This can be done remotely through our over-the-air Deep Space software updates of the Gravity machine as well as replacing existing equipment during service visits for new hardware releases. We are currently working on new features to be included in the 2022 models.”
I’m now looking forward to 2022, for several reasons.