Unless you’re dealing with mainly small, handheld items, 3D printed parts rarely look much like their final form while still sitting on the build platform. In order to achieve functional 3D prints that look as good as they’re supposed to work, you have to take the time required for finishing and post-processing these said prints. From smoothing down and removing excess material to dissolving or breaking off supports, post-processing and finishing are both necessary evils when it comes to 3D printed parts.
Multiple companies in the 3D printing industry are working on ways to make post-processing faster, with ideas such as easy, high-speed support removal and using ultrasonic technology. This last is the path a company headquartered in Incheon, Korea, called Cutra Co., Ltd., took for its innovative Wondercutter product – an ultrasonic cutter.
At last year’s formnext show in Germany, Cutra first showcased its Wondercutter, which was originally conceptualized three years ago. In February of 2016, the company created its first Wondercutter prototype, with the second iteration completed that summer. Not long before Cutra launched its crowdfunding campaigns for the final Wondercutter prototype on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, it received a patent for the already award-winning device.
“Wondercutter is capable of cutting various materials such as plastic, PVC foam board, ABS, acrylic, and etc. We have been told from a lot of users that our product would be a great finishing tool for 3D printing industry,” Amy Jeon with Cutra’s Overseas Sales Department told 3DPrint.com.
The compact Wondercutter device comes in three colors – pink, silver, and turquoise – and is best suited for the ultrasonic cutting of 3-5 mm plastic, though it can also be used to cut materials such as felt, leather, rubber, and plywood; however, users should complete tests before using the Wondercutter with wood. For maximum efficiency, the Wondercutter is capable of emitting ultrasonic vibrations of 40,000 times per second, which constantly applies friction to materials.
The rechargeable device has built in batteries, which, coupled with its 750 g weight and 172 x 102 x 62 mm dimensions, makes it portable and space-saving. The Wondercutter also allows you to save on electricity, as its 25 W power makes energy consumption lower. It’s also easy to use – the main body has only a power button and battery indicator on it, and attached are a leg, belt clip, and cable, which attaches to the cutter itself.
While the button on the body of the Wondercutter turns the device on, you need to push the button on the side of the cutter’s handle to actually use it to cut materials, whether the parts are for architectural modeling, plastic model assembling, finishing FDM 3D printed parts, or removing the supports from your SLA prints. The handle also houses a transducer horn, or vibrator.
The Wondercutter device comes with 40 cutting blades, a charger, safety gloves, and a user guide.
While this ultrasonic cutting device does sound pretty great, I feel that this product marketing statement may be just a bit misleading. Having not used the Wondercutter myself, I can’t be certain – it could be the real deal, or it could be just press release speak.
But, if the pictures on Cutra’s website showing people of all ages using the Wondercutter at various shows and exhibitions are any indication, the device is as good as it sounds…music to the ears of people who want a faster way to remove the supports from their prints.
At the moment, Cutra is moving on from product development for its Wondercutter to marketing and sales. Hopefully, the rest of the 3D printing industry will soon have a chance to see and test out this unique ultrasonic cutting device, to see if it’s up to snuff for finishing 3D prints.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Images: Cutra Co., Ltd.]