Taking a Closer Look at the HP Jet Fusion 300 / 500: A Breakthrough New Color 3D Printer

HP recently issued a press release about the long-awaited HP color 3D printer, the Jet Fusion 300 / 500. In this post, we take a closer look their announcement given our expertise working with every major 3D printing technology on the market to help you determine just how impactful this new product launch will be.

In the paragraphs below, we deconstruct some of the key passages of the press release to give you some perspective on what to expect…

Press Release: Palo Alto, CA, Feb. 5, 2018 — Today HP Inc. expanded its 3D printing portfolio with the introduction of its new Jet Fusion 300 / 500 series of 3D printers, the industry’s first 3D printing technology to enable manufacturers to produce engineering-grade, functional parts in full color, black or white – with voxel control – in a fraction of the time1 of other solutions. Depending on configuration and color preference, the Jet Fusion 300 / 500 series is available starting in the $50,000s, enabling small- to medium-sized product development teams and design businesses, entrepreneurs, and universities and research institutions to access HP’s industry leading Multi Jet Fusion printing technology.

Commentary: A lot in this passage.  The big takeaway, though, is engineering-grade, functional parts in full color.  To date, full color parts have been 3D Printed using paper, gypsum, or resin.  None of those materials are well equipped for functional applications.  Instead, parts are typically printed and then painted or dyed as part of a post-processing step.  So the story here is theoretically a faster way to durable multi-color parts.  Starting at $50K, it’s a fair bit more expensive than most of the gypsum and paper-based technologies, but that’s a bit less than competing multi-color resin technologies.

Press Release: HP’s unique ability to control part properties at the individual voxel level enables the design and production of previously unconceivable parts and is now available, for the first time, in full color. Whether in healthcare, automotive, consumer goods, or other industries; or for entrepreneurs, designers, or university researchers with the next great idea; the potential of new 3D printing applications is enormous. HP is already engaging in the co-development of new color applications with universities and businesses around the world including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Yazaki Corp., and Youngstown State University, amongst others.

Commentary: HP has put emphasis on voxel-level control for some time now.  For those who aren’t as familiar with the term, a voxel is a 3-Dimensional pixel.  So, much like you can use photoshop to alter the exact color composition of each pixel of a photograph, you can do that as well to a voxel with this technology.  This promises to provide the equivalent of micro-painting – achieving a level of accuracy that cannot be conventionally achieved by traditional painting methods.  Practically speaking, the applications for micro-color applications remain to be seen.  That being said, you can see the potential value in creating models or surgical guides that provide all the color required, but did not require a human touch and the risk of human error. At the very least, it would seem to help product designers accelerate the time to a functional product vs. the current process and post-process steps.

Press Release: The HP Jet Fusion 300 / 500 3D printers will launch with a new material, HP 3D High Reusability CB PA 12. Parts using this material will have mechanical properties similar to the HP 3D High Reusability PA 12 material from HP’s industrial solutions.

Commentary: Here we see that HP is emphasizing Nylon 12 (Polyamide) as its go-to material.  HP has a significant depth of experience working with Nylon with its initially launched Jet Fusion printers, so this is no surprise.

Press Release: HP today also unveiled a new collaboration with Dassault Systèmes, a leading provider of 3D design software with millions of users in more than 140 countries, to empower a new era of product design innovation by entrepreneurs, makers, students, and businesses. The two companies intend to optimize Dassault Systèmes’ industry-leading SOLIDWORKS 3D design and engineering applications to take advantage of the unique voxel-level capabilities of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions.

Commentary: Looks like we can expect some voxel-level coloring options in Solidworks in the not too distant future.  And lastly, from the footnotes…

Press Release: Based on internal and third-party testing for HP Jet Fusion 580 and 540 3D Printers, printing time is a fraction of the time of the printing times of comparable plastic fused deposition modeling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), and material jetting solutions from $20,000 USD to $120,000 USD on market as of June, 2017. Testing variables for the HP Jet Fusion 580 3D Printer: Part quantity: 1 full build chamber of parts from HP Jet Fusion 3D at 10% of packing density versus same number of parts on above-mentioned competitive devices; Part size: 30 cm3; Layer thickness: .08 mm/0.003 inches. Competitor testing variables are comparable.

Commentary: This is interesting in the sense that the claim is based on these conditions.  Most notably: a full build chamber, 30cc part, and 80 micron layer thickness.  Both paper- and Gypsum-based systems tend to work in a bed fashion, so this is a reasonably fair comparison for them.  Material Jetting printers do not…and in fact if the intention of this platform is quick one-off designs than a complete bed is perhaps not a reasonable comparison.  Regardless, you’d think it to be quick, but don’t assume this is inherently the fastest solution for your particular needs.

We look forward to having the HP Jet Fusion 300 / 500 series of 3D printers in our network. Until then, take a look at the other 3D printing process available to you through 3Diligent.

Behind the Scenes with the Markforged Metal X: An interview with Greg Mark

In honor of 3Diligent CEO Cullen Hilkene’s presentation at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Conference today, where he’ll be talking about innovative metal additive technologies, here’s our recent interview with Greg Mark, CEO of Markforged.

The Markforged Metal X is the first printer to use extrusion process for metal printing, promising new speed for a wide range of materials. The Metal X uses innovative design breakthroughs to overcome the challenges with adapting extrusion process to metal materials.

Markforged CEO Greg Mark

In this email interview between 3Diligent CEO, Cullen Hilkene, and Markforged CEO, Greg Mark, we find out more of what to expect from this exciting new printer.

The Metal X is a breakthrough technology helping usher in metals to the material extrusion process.  Now, lots of folks never thought extrusion would be possible because molten metal passing through a metal nozzle seemed like a recipe for solid clogged nozzles.  Explain how it works…

Rather than extruding molten metal, Markforged has developed a new end-to-end process built on Metal Injection Molding (MIM). It begins with metal powder bound in plastic and formed into a filament. The exact same material from the MIM process. We then put it through a nozzle and print it into the part shape, one layer at a time. After printing, you follow standard MIM post-processing: just sinter the part in a furnace, burn off the binder and solidify the powder into a fully dense metal part. You can learn more at https://markforged.com/ADAM

For readers less familiar with MIM, can you speak a bit more about this powder bound in plastic works and the material options it makes available?

We combine 60% metal powder with a proprietary mix of well-known MIM binder materials. The best part is that we’ll support hundreds of metals, including 17-4 Stainless Steel when the Metal X ships. We’re also looking at titanium, aluminum, inconel and tool steels.

What level of density is achievable with the process?

The density is not achieved until you actually sinter the part – after extrusion, it’s still powder bound in plastic. Post sintering you can achieve densities over 98% – and the parts can then be hot isostatic pressed to full density.

MarkForgedimage001Could you share a bit more about the sintering phase?

Of course- the sintering step is really a crucial part in the ADAM technology. Sintering the parts burns off the plastic binders we use in the printing and causes the metal powder to diffuse together, yielding a solid metal part.

What sorts of tolerances are achievable with this process?  Do they scale up with the size of the part?

The Metal X is printing parts near net shape, just like cast parts. We’re talking a few percentage points by size, or a few thousand per inch. Of course, if you have a critical dimension you’re still going to need to machine it.

What size parts are achievable with this process – both in green state and sintered?

The max part size is 250 x 183 x 150 mm post sintering. The sintering process shrinks the part by around 17% in each direction. So, pre-sintering, the build volume is 300 x 220 x 180mm. For more information, definitely check out our Metal X datasheet, which you can read here.

What sort of surface finish can people expect? 

Markforged is known for best in class surface finishes – that’s because we design the full system in house from materials, to hardware, to software.

What is the range of materials possible at this time and in the pipeline?

The Metal X will ship with the capability to print 17-4 and 316L stainless steel, but we’ve got all sorts of other metals planned. This is all in addition to the wide range of materials – composites, carbon fiber, Onyx – we deliver with our existing series of printers. Our team at Markforged is already working on titanium, inconel, aluminum and tool steel, and that’s just the beginning.

Are there specific capabilities of the technology that you’d like to highlight?  Beyond the range of metals you can offer, for instance, I’d think the ability to hollow out walls with a honeycomb or lattice structure is a unique advantage vs. powder bed technologies…

One thing to note is that the Metal X is going to deliver captive infill metal parts. These are fully encased lattice structures inside metal, possible for the first time through a 3D printer. This means the Metal X can print lighter parts with less material while preserving strength characteristics, something potentially vital for the aerospace and automotive industries.

Are there core applications where you’re seeing your early users get maximum value from the technology?

Everything that we’ve built at Markforged is designed to make elements of manufacturing quicker and more affordable than traditional processes. Whether tooling, prototyping, or mass producing, the Metal X allows the user to get parts tomorrow, not in 4-6 weeks. And our customers already estimate over 90% savings on the cost of parts compared to machining or casting when using Metal X.

Anything else you want to share that we didn’t touch on?

We make printers at Markforged, but at our heart we’re a process company. Humans have been pouring metal into molds to make things for millennia, yet technology has since advanced nearly every industry on the planet – the way we consume media, the way we communicate, or the way we access services. But manufacturing has somehow avoided major disruption since the dawn of the first assembly line. What if you could debug hardware in production? What if engineers could prototype overnight instead of over the course of months?  We’re engineering the very processes, and the 3D printers, that can accelerate the massive adoption of additive manufacturing.

Greg – thank you again for taking the time for this interview. The Metal X is indeed a great addition to the 3D Printing market and we look forward to working with our customers to leverage its capabilities.



3Diligent CEO to Speak at Pacific Design & Manufacturing Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Next week, I’ll give my first talk of 2018 just a short distance southeast to Anaheim, Calif. at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Conference.

The Design News event will take place February 6-8, 2018 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Known as the nation’s largest advanced design and manufacturing showcase, the conference covers CAD/CAM software, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, new materials, injection molding and more.

On the first day of the conference, February 6, I will be speaking on “Metal 3D Printing Evolution: An Exploration of Trends & Emerging Tech.” As part of my presentation, I will provide an overview of the metal 3D Printing market.  Included in this will be a deep dive into the established metal 3D Printing processes, strengths, drawbacks, and applications for each technology available today, as well as some perspective on emerging metal technologies.  So for those of you wanting to learn about powder bed, metal extrusion, full sinter binder jetting and more, we’ve got you covered.

I’d like for you to attend this session on Tuesday, February 6 at 3:15 pm in 208B. If you will be attending the conference, but can’t attend the session, I’d still love to meet you. You can send an email here to set up a time.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the great innovations at Pacific Design & Manufacturing and learning from my industry peers.