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

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.