Typically when you think of the tradeoff between 3D printing speed and the quality in which the parts that come off of these printers exhibit, they have a negative correlation. You increase print speed, and this will almost always decrease the quality of the printed parts. Likewise, if print speed is slowed down, the quality, resolution, and strength of the printed parts should increase.
Back in March, we broke a story on a new company, called Gizmo 3D, which had upped the ante quite a bit when it comes to 3D printing speeds for SLA-based 3D printers. Able to print objects at a rate of 30mm in just 6 minutes, the new printer which utilizes a technology the company refers to as “continuous printing”, took a few shots from naysayers who claimed that the parts may print fast, but there was no way that they could also provide much strength. This, created a challenge for Gizmo 3D founder, Kobus du Toit.
“One of my contacts in Silicon Valley said to me that he heard that parts printed using continuous printing are not strong and are not usable,” du Toit explains to 3DPrint.com. “It was then that I came up with the idea that I should maybe go to the gym for a change and run strength tests.”
du Toit decided to use the same object that was recorded printing in his company’s previous promotional videos, and is printed in just 19 minutes flat, as a demonstration for his strength tests. Going into the experiment, which was recorded and can be seen below, du Toit had no idea how much weight the small, hollowed ball that he printed would be able to withstand.
“What’s exciting about this demonstration is it proves that a part printed using continuous printing, that was designed correctly, can still be very strong,” du Toit tells us. “We shot the video about 5 times thinking that we had enough weight to break the part but even we were surprised that it ended up only breaking at 30kg (approximately 60lbs). You will see in the video there is a break between the 25kg and 30kg weights because we thought 25kg would definitely break it.”
That’s right, this tiny 3D print, which was fabricated on one of Gizmo 3D’s printers, using their proprietary Gizmetor slicing software and continuous printing method, was able to hold up to, not only 2.5 kg, 5 kg, 10 kg, or 20 kg, but it actually could hold 25 kg of weight without fracturing or breaking. It was not until du Toit put a large 30 kg weight on top that it could no longer withstand the weight
As we mentioned earlier this month, Gizmo 3D’s technology continues to evolve. While their system has not yet been totally perfected, they are coming close to doing so. du Toit outlined what he has learned so far in the iteration process below:
“The parts have to have a really thin wall like the skulls we’ve printed previously or you design a part with a 3mm or thicker wall and you use Gizmetor slicing to hollow the part for you. It will then create a thin outer wall and a thin inner wall. It is important when you design your part to round the bottom and the top of the walls so that the resin will be captured in between the walls. Then when you harden your part under UV, the captured resin will be hardened and you get an almost solid wall, giving you that unbelievable strength. Looking at the ball we printed, we had a couple of air bubbles and you can probably expect this when you have a wall thickness of 3mm or less.”
Gizmo 3D is currently working on getting their beta machines up and running, so it should be interesting to see what’s next for this innovative company. What do you think about this strength test, and what Gizmo 3D has been able to achieve with their continuous printing technology? Discuss in the Gizmo 3D forum thread on 3DPB.com.