Just a couple of short years ago, Kodak entered the AM market with its 3D Printing Ecosystem, which includes specialized software, the dual extruder, professional Portrait 3D printer, and a line of premium, low moisture content filaments. I learned a lot about this ecosystem while visiting Kodak’s booth at the recent RAPID+TCT show in Detroit, as the Portrait, and a wide array of example prints made on it, were being showcased.
On to new business first – the company launched its new Design to Print Service, which Kodak’s CCO and and co-founder Demian Gawianski told me is helpful for “customers who find designers’ time very valuable.”
“This can go from converting any 3D model into a 3D printable file to tuning the parameters on how to print those files,” he told me. “Basically, if you have complex geometry that wouldn’t go with our preset parameters, because it may have some bridges or overhangs or something like that, we would create the profile for the user, and our designers will actually print out the part to make sure it works.”
The company was offering a launching offer for its new service at the show – any customer who purchased the Portrait 3D printer at RAPID would also receive a $500 credit for the Design to Print Service.
This valuable service is an easy three-step process: first, share your project on your Kodak 3D Cloud account. Then, interact with the company’s professional designers in order to get a quick quote for the project, in addition to an estimated completion date. Finally, have your part optimized for a guaranteed result, printed, and tested by the Kodak team. You will then receive an STL file from the company that’s been modified for successful 3D printing. The service is available in English and Spanish, from 8 am to 5 pm EST, for a standard rate of $45 an hour; a priority job is available for an hourly rate of $90.
“We want to make sure that the user has a very successful experience, with any level of knowledge they may have about 3D printing,” Gawianski continued. “We want to have a comprehensive approach.”
This includes providing users with the right materials and hardware, empowered by good software, and Gawianski believes that Kodak’s design solution offers this unique, comprehensive approach.
Then we moved over to the Portrait 3D printer, which features a compact 215 x 210 x 235 mm build volume with a magnetic, heated build plate and dual extruders. With an intuitive color touchscreen that supports multiple languages, HEPA filter with activated carbon, automatic bed leveling, and live print monitoring via a built-in camera, I can see why Kodak calls it “the new standard for ‘desktop’ professional printing.”
Gawianski noted the “fully enclosed chamber,” which helps enable a “high level of control,” stability, and accuracy. He also pointed out the dual extrusion system with automatic nozzle lifting. The #2 hotend on the left is Teflon for high temperature materials, while the one on the right is metal for lower temperatures. The part being printed while we were standing there was out of white ABS.
“It would be difficult to achieve this level of quality on another printer with ABS, because it would warp and have all kinds of problems,” he explained.
Then we walked over to a setup in the corner of the booth that had caught my eye when I first arrived. A Portrait 3D printer – which was currently operating and weighs about 35 kg – had been placed on a rather thin-looking wooden platform, which was suspended by ropes that were attached to nylon hooks 3D printed on the Portrait itself.
The nylon hooks were strong enough to keep the platform stable, so the print could continue uninterrupted with “the same level of quality” while it was fabricating a blue part out of strong but flexible Nylon 6.
“The printer comes with two filament cases. You open the back of a filament, and place the filament in the case,” Gawianski said. “It has a silica gel that continues to protect the filament all the way from the manufacturing plant to the printed part.”
This case protects the filament from absorbing dust or humidity. Kodak is open to Portrait customers using third party materials, but these clear cases are only for its own filament.
He then started to show me various parts made out of Kodak’s other materials, such as a blue skull printed out of PLA Tough with water-soluble PVA supports, an engineering part made out of ABS with HIPS supports that dissolve in Limonene, and a large part with a green top that can lift 700 lbs of weight.
Kodak offers 11 different materials, including strong, food-safe PETG and semi-flexible Flex 98 with high abrasive resistance. Gawianski brought out a 3D printed part that was a good example of the Portrait 3D printer’s dual extrusion. The figure, which bore a strong resemblance to the Egyptian god Anubis, was made with PLA+ (green) and PLA Tough (red), which are the two materials that come with the Portrait 3D printer out of the box.
“We also have Nylon 12, which is FDA certified and has high resistance to impact,” Gawianski said, showing me two parts in translucent white.
“We also have some further ABS parts – this is a delamination test,” he continued, scratching the side of a small container. “It’s difficult to achieve this with an open printer, you need an enclosed one.”
Kodak will soon be releasing some new materials to the market, such as acrylic, which I also got the chance to see.
Our conversation ended by discussing Kodak’s 3D printing software.
“We have a desktop solution, which is the Kodak 3D Slicer,” Gawianski explained. “And we have the Kodak 3D Cloud, that is a cloud management system that enables you to manage an unlimited number of printers in unlimited locations from a single data place. So from your computer, phone, whatever, you can manage this fleet of printer.”
I asked if the company had anything new on the horizon, and aside from new filaments, Gawianski also said we can expect to see a new 3D printer model by the end of the year.
Take a look at some more of my pictures from the Kodak booth at RAPID+TCT 2019 below:
Discuss this story, and other 3D printing topics, at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Images: Sarah Saunders]
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