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Desktop Metal launches affordable new ExOne S-Max Flex 3D printer: technical specifications and pricing 

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Industrial 3D printer manufacturer Desktop Metal (DM) has announced the launch of an accessible new binder jetting system.

Built using the combined technologies and expertise of Desktop Metal and its subsidiary ExOne, the S-Max Flex is specifically designed to provide foundries with a robust, low-cost means of creating sand tooling for metal casting applications.

As ExOne’s most affordable unit to-date, the Flex effectively makes S-Max technology available to a wider base, and in doing so, allows more users to rapidly cast complex metal parts for clients, including those operating in the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors, amongst others.

“We designed the all-new S-Max Flex from the ground up leveraging Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) technology with the idea of making premium sand 3D printing accessible to every foundry, so that more companies can take advantage of the benefits of AM 2.0, such as distributed, local production, and remain competitive for the long-term,” said Ric Fulop, Co-Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal.“To achieve our vision of Additive Manufacturing 2.0, we need to make production 3D printing practical in terms of speed, cost, and material availability for a broad range of applications.”

Desktop Metal’s expanding portfolio 

Since it was founded in 2015, Desktop Metal has established itself as one of the leaders in the binder jet 3D printing space. One way the firm has managed to achieve this is via the sale of machines fitted with its Single Pass Jetting technology, a process which sees the steps behind binder jetting combined into the pass of a single, integrated carriage.

Desktop Metal’s current 3D printer portfolio includes the Shop System and Production System, and it continues to expand on their material compatibility as a means of growing its accessible markets. Just last year, the company became the first to qualify 4140 low-alloy steel for use with binder jetting, shortly after launching a sustainable wood 3D printing technology via its Forust subsidiary.

In the aftermath of Desktop Metal’s SPAC merger in late-2020, it has also sought to accelerate its growth trajectory via a string of acquisitions. This strategy has seen the firm buy recoater system developer Aerosint, acquire hydraulic power specialist Aidro, snap up EnvistionTEC (now ETEC) for $300 million, and most significantly purchase ExOne for $575 million, one of its key binder jetting rivals.

Having bought ExOne, Desktop Metal has now not only carried out some rebranding, adding the InnoventX, X25Pro and X160Pro to its ‘X-Series,’ but it has now poured the firms’ combined expertise into the design of a new low-cost digital casting solution.

Introducing the S-Max Flex According to Desktop Metal, foundries are enjoying a period of strong demand for castings, but they’re struggling when it comes to finding labor. Citing data provided by the American Foundry Society, the firm says that 90% of surveyed foundries are therefore seeking to take advantage of this trend, by making capital investments over the next year.

This is where the S-Max Flex comes in, as by packing SPJ technology into a more affordable architecture, it’s designed to offer a new value proposition to foundries seeking to expand their capabilities. Through teaming an industrial robot with an all-new end effector, the system is able to selectively deposit binder into a 1900 x 1000 x 1000 mm telescoping build box, at a rate of up to 115 liters per hour.

As a result, just like the more premium S-Max and S-Max Pro models, the Flex offers users the opportunity to reliably churn out parts, while achieving a rapid return on investment. The build box itself is also available in larger volumes up to 4700 x 1000 x 1000 mm in size, in addition to taller 1000 x 2500 x 2400 mm variants, enabling foundries to adopt a machine that’s tailored to meet their specific needs.

Application-wise, given the system’s large size and ability to jet a variety of powders into parts with a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.5 mm, Desktop Metal says it could soon address “industries beyond metalcasting.” For now, early adopters of the Flex include Founders Service & Manufacturing Co. and HTCI Co, while Desktop Metal’s Forust brand is also set to use it to print large, cost-effective wooden parts.

Technical specifications and pricing 

Below are the technical specifications for the ExOne S-Max Flex 3D printer. The system is set to debut at the CastExpo 2022 metal casting trade show from April 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio. In the meantime, those interested in acquiring the system can contact Desktop Metal for a quote.

Binder System  Furan
Job Box  1,900 x 1,000 x 1,000 mm
Build Volume  1,900l
Build Rate  Up to 115 l/h
Layer Height  0.28 to 0.5 mm
Dimensional Accuracy  +/- 0.5 mm
Exhaust Air 26 m³/h
External Dimensions  8.5 x 4.9 x 4.9 m
Weight  5,900 kg

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Featured image shows Desktop Metal’s new ExOne S-Max Flex 3D printer. Photo via Desktop Metal.

Desktop Metal launches affordable new ExOne S-Max Flex 3D printer: technical specifications and pricing 

BMW announces the ‘successful industrialization’ of 3D printing via its IDAM project 

Multinational automotive manufacturer BMW has announced the success of its Industrialisation and Digitalisation of Additive Manufacturing or ‘IDAM’ project. 

Launched three years ago, the initiative has seen BMW and its partners establish two digitally-connected automotive 3D printing production lines. One located at material developer GKN Powder Metallurgy’s base in Bonn, and the other in Munich, these manufacturing suites are now capable of churning out around 50,000 parts per year, while operating independently without needing manual inputs. 

“From the very first day of the project, you could feel the team spirit among the partners,” said Felix Haeckel, consortium leader and BMW Group project manager. “Learning from one another, developing innovative solutions together and making the best use of each partner’s individual strengths – those were key to successful industrialization and digitalization of additive manufacturing.” 

The BMW Group's Additive Manufacturing campus. Photo via the BMW Group.
The BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Campus. Photo via the BMW Group.

BMW’s pursuit of industrialized 3D printing 

Due to the competitive nature of the automotive market, manufacturers there aren’t always keen to publicize their 3D printing success stories, but BMW is something of an exception to this rule. The firm has announced the technology’s application in both blue-sky innovation projects and the creation of parts, including 3D printed brake calipers for the M850i Night Sky, and 3D printed parts for its S58 engine.

BMW continues to invest heavily in its additive manufacturing capabilities, first turning to innovatiQ 3D printing for prototyping applications, before opening a dedicated €15 million 3D printing campus in July 2020. Fitted with fifty polymer and metal systems, the facility is said to house around 50% of the company’s 3D printing capacity, allowing it to serve as a hub of automotive design innovation. 

The car manufacturer has also made a number of investments in the technology via its BMW i Ventures division, which provided seed funding to Rapid Liquid Print just last year. The promising 3D printing start-up has exclusively licensed a gel-dispensing process from MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, that’s said to have the potential to replace injection molding in the high-volume production of identical parts. 

A construction cyclinder being automatically transferred to a metal 3D printer at BMW's AM campus. Photo via the BMW Group.
A construction cylinder being automatically transferred to a metal 3D printer at BMW’s AM Campus. Photo via the BMW Group.

The IDAM project’s successful serialization 

With the aim of using its growing printing portfolio to enter serial production, BMW launched the IDAM project in 2019. A successor to the “Integration of Additive Manufacturing Processes in Automobile Series Production” initiative, the also-German Federal Ministry of Education and Research-backed program has seen production lines set up at both GKN’s Bonn base and BMW’s AM Campus. 

From the outset, BMW and its eleven project partners have sought to establish a more efficient 3D printing alternative to mold production, that also unlocks new levels of part customization. When the program began, it was thought that this revised workflow could enable a dramatic reduction in manual activities along the process chain from 35% down to 5%, yielding a metal part cost reduction of 50%. 

With BMW now labeling the initiative a success, it appears that some of these lofty goals have been met. According to the firm, IDAM’s contributors have managed to fit the two Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF)-powered production lines with fully-automated driverless transport systems. These carry 3D printers’ mobile build chambers between modules, while being orchestrated by a central control unit.

By doing so, BMW and its partners have established a workflow in which production data can be consolidated to ensure maximum productivity and quality. In practice, this process is said to have allowed for the realization of ‘innovative concepts,’ quality inspected in real-time via built-in cameras and automatically post-processed, in a way that ensures the end-use suitability of resulting parts.

A fully-depowdered build inside a depowdering module at the BMW Group's AM campus. Photo via the BMW Group.
A fully-depowdered build inside a depowdering module at the BMW Group’s AM Campus. Photo via the BMW Group.

Accelerating automotive 3D printing

As impressive as BMW’s feat of industrialized 3D printing is, the Germany-based firm is far from the only car manufacturer to have embraced the technology at scale. Speaking to 3D Printing Industry ahead of AMUG 2022, Ellen Lee revealed that Ford deploys 3D printing extensively, in the creation of mock-ups, jigs, fixtures and even end-use parts. 

In April 2021, Audi also announced that it had begun using fully-3D printed hot form tooling at its Ingolstadt Metal 3D Printing Centre. Through the wider adoption of EOS’ technologies, the firm says it’s now able to produce 12 different segments of four hot forming tools at the complex, which are later used to assemble car models such as the A4 saloon. 

Elsewhere, Groupe Renault says that it intends to integrate 3D printing into its upcoming sustainable automotive ‘Re-Factory’ as well. The facility, which will feature a dedicated spare part additive manufacturing service, will primarily focus on reducing waste by recycling and retrofitting vehicles, with the aim of helping the manufacturer achieve its goal of having a ‘negative carbon balance’ by 2030.

To stay up to date with the latest 3D printing news, don’t forget to subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter or follow us on Twitter or liking our page on Facebook.

For a deeper dive into additive manufacturing, you can now subscribe to our Youtube channel, featuring discussion, debriefs, and shots of 3D printing in-action.

Are you looking for a job in the additive manufacturing industry? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.

Featured image shows the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Campus. Photo via the BMW Group.

BMW announces the ‘successful industrialization’ of 3D printing via its IDAM project 

Alquist 3D to build 200 homes in “world’s largest” 3D printing construction project 

Construction 3D printing firm Alquist 3D has announced plans to build 200 homes in the US state of Virginia. 

Having finished building the ‘first owner-occupied 3D printed home’ earlier this year, Alquist 3D has now revealed that it aims to carry out the largest construction project realized with the technology to-date, across-state in Pulaski and Roanoke. Given the region’s rapidly growing workforce, it’s expected to serve as an ideal test bed for showcasing 3D printing’s efficacy in creating accessible new homes. 

“With migration patterns shifting due to pandemic, climate, and economic concerns, smaller communities like Pulaski have a huge need — and an amazing opportunity — to develop affordable housing for new residents,” said Zachary Mannheimer, Founder and CEO of Alquist 3D. “By 3D printing these homes, Alquist and our partners will be accelerating Pulaski and Roanoke’s ability to harness current trends and attract new workers to this wonderful community in southwestern Virginia.”

One of COBOD's latest 3D printed homes.
The three-bed 3D printed home built by Alquist 3D and Habitat for Humanity that was unveiled late last year. Photo via COBOD.

Striving for affordable accomodation

While there are now numerous construction 3D printing start-ups out there, Alquist 3D sets itself apart as one that seeks to specifically use the technology to solve the USA’s “affordable housing crisis.” Having poured over four years into additive manufacturing R&D alongside partner Atlas Community Studios, the firm has come up with a plan to address this, by 3D printing large-but-affordable family homes.

Alquist 3D’s first of these builds was carried out in partnership with Virginia Tech University with backing from the Virginia Housing authority in the city of Richmond. This project was quickly followed by another late last year, conducted with non-profit Habitat for Humanity, which saw it create a three-bed 3D printed house with 1,200 sq. feet of livable space, using a COBOD BOD2 system.

At the time, the home, whose exterior was said to have been constructed in just 28 hours, was hailed by Mannheimer as a demonstration of both the speed and sustainability that 3D printing could help bring to the US housebuilding market. 

“Concrete 3D printing reduces the amount of waste that is typically found on a jobsite, and our energy savings are significant,” Mannheimer said in January. “Still, concrete is far from the most environmentally friendly material, and we are working with partners to create a greener material in the next year. We also hope this new technology will be another way to build more affordable homes for families.”

“Habitat and Alquist share a similar mission: building housing that is affordable. We both believe in the American Dream of homeownership, and by partnering, we can realize this dream for more families.”

Black Buffalo 3D's NEXCON construction 3D printer. Image via Black Buffalo 3D.
Black Buffalo 3D’s NEXCON construction 3D printer. Image via Black Buffalo 3D.

Meeting Virginia’s housing needs

Following the success of its initial builds in Richmond and Williamsburg, Alquist 3D has now unveiled plans to construct homes at scale for workers in Pulaski. With the likes of Volvo, Blue Star Manufacturing and American Glove Innovations expanding to create 3,000 extra jobs in the town, the company says that “demand for housing is soaring” there. 

Also citing an article based on a Brooking Institute report, which highlights Virginia’s New River Valley as one of the fastest-growing regions in the US when it comes to tech jobs, Alquist 3D has therefore emphasized the need to accommodate workers. 

To address this demand, the firm is set to imminently begin work on its next batch of 3D printed homes. However, unlike its previous builds, which were carried out using a COBOD machine, its latest are expected to be realized with the help of Black Buffalo 3D’s ‘NEXCON,’ a gantry system capable of creating three-storey structures. 

With a top speed that’s said to be limited by the USA’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to 9.8″ per second, and 12-hour continuous operation capabilities, the machine is able to build 1,000 sq. foot structures in under 20 hours.

To make loading materials as easy as possible, the NEXCON’s nozzle features an open hopper design and interchangeable tips, enabling users to manually inspect them and switch heads, depending on the application. The unit is also available with the firm’s proprietary ‘ink’ blends, which are said to offer better strength and durability than mortars, another aspect that could benefit Alquist 3D’s new builds.

Although Alquist 3D has yet to issue a timescale for when its 200 3D printed homes will be built, it has revealed that the project will kick-off this Friday, on April 29, 2022. The event is set to begin with a tech demo near the first two 3D-printed homes in Pulaski, across the road from a site on 205 Pierce Avenue, Pulaski, Virginia 24301. 

3D printing’s home-building potential 

Alquist 3D’s upcoming housing project is one of several now seeking to apply construction 3D printing technologies on a much wider scale than ever before. Unsurprisingly, given that it’s one of the early leaders in an albeit emerging market, ICON has committed to building one of the largest of these, a 100-strong community of 3D printed homes. 

Apis Cor, which recently featured on 3D Printing Industry’s ‘Exploring 3D Printing’s Emerging Construction Industry’ webinar, also announced a slew of new affordable 3D printing housing projects earlier this month. Specifically, working with SMASH and Eden Village Wilmington, the firm plans to erect low-cost housing in both South Florida and North Carolina. 

Elsewhere, the likes of Serendix Partners are scaling house building in the other direction, by 3D printing tiny futuristic spherical homes. In March 2022, the company was reportedly able to additive manufacture an inhabitable 107.6 sq. foot, 20,000-kilo structure in just 24 hours, which met Japanese earthquake and European insulation standards.


Since the article’s publication, COBOD Founder Henrik Lund-Nielsen has reached out to explain that Alquist 3D used to be one of its distributors. However, Lund-Nielsen says the firm “breached” this contract when it “accepted Black Buffalo as a minority shareholder,” hence it “doesn’t have access” to COBOD systems anymore (except for the one it already has), and has begun using Black Buffalo machines instead.

To stay up to date with the latest 3D printing news, don’t forget to subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter or follow us on Twitter or liking our page on Facebook.

For a deeper dive into additive manufacturing, you can now subscribe to our Youtube channel, featuring discussion, debriefs, and shots of 3D printing in-action.

Are you looking for a job in the additive manufacturing industry? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.

Featured image shows Black Buffalo 3D’s NEXCON construction 3D printer. Image via Black Buffalo 3D.

Alquist 3D to build 200 homes in “world’s largest” 3D printing construction project 

Mooji is 3D printing plant-based meat – TechCrunch

Earlier last month, we featured Mooji Meats, noting the food tech startup’s plans to raise a $2.5 million seed planned to accelerate its 3D printing technology. Turns out the Baltimore-based firm got all that and more.

Today the Y Combinator grad is announcing $3 million raised in a round featuring The Good Startup, Collaborative Fund, Lever VC and AgFunder. The Good Startup and Collaborative Fund have a keen interest in the category, with past investments in Impossible and Beyond, respectively.

Those other startups, incidentally, are names Mooji has been eying for its additive manufacturing process, which extrudes alternative meats at scale. Most of these companies specialize in plant-based meats that mimic ground beef or sausage. Mooji’s tech is designed to mimic whole cuts of meat. Who wants imitation burger when you can eat an imitation steak? The company notes that 70% of the meat market revolves around whole cuts — a stark contrast to what other alternative meats offer.

Image Credits: Mooji Meats

“If you go to food tech conferences, it’s the number one topic everyone talks about. It’s really important to create real meat cuts for the industry,” says Mohr. “On the one hand, there’s 3D printing. They create really good, authentic mouthfeels, but it’s just too expensive. On the other hand, there’s cheaper technologies such as traditional extrusion, electrospinning and so on, which is really cheap, affordable and scalable. However the textures don’t score well when customers try it.”

Leveraging technologies developed by Harvard SEAS (where co-founder Jochen Mueller did his postdoc), the company is working to produce a system that can perform the process quickly, inexpensively and at scale. Specifically, the company cites its use of a new printing technology (developed by the aforementioned Harvard team), which can print with hundreds of nozzles simultaneously, versus many of the existing technologies that only use one.

As for the new funding? “One-third is going to increasing our lab,” CEO Insa Mohr, tells TechCrunch. “We still need more equipment. One-third is going into hiring. We hired seven engineers, a combination of food scientists and engineers, including 3D printing engineers. And another third is going toward traditional overhead.”

Mooji believes this will unlock the company’s ability to print at a scale comparable to more traditional technologies. It’s still fairly early stages, however, with plans to develop the first prototype (that being the meat, not the printer) within the next six months. Meanwhile, it’s hoping to bring its printers to market in the next year and a half.

Mooji says it already has clients lined up, though it can’t name any names just yet. The list includes one or two “market leaders” in Europe and one in the U.S.

Mooji is 3D printing plant-based meat

The Evolution of 3D Printing: From Prototyping to Everyday Use

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has revolutionized the way we design, produce, and manufacture products. It has come a long way since its inception in the 1980s and has become a widely accepted method of creating innovative and customized products. In this article, we will explore the evolution of 3D printing, from its early days as a rapid prototyping tool to its current use in everyday life.

The Beginning of 3D Printing

The first 3D printing process was invented by Chuck Hull in 1983. He used a technique called stereolithography to create three-dimensional objects from a liquid photopolymer. This process involved using a computer-aided design (CAD) file to create a 3D model, which was then sliced into thin layers. The layers were then exposed to UV light to solidify the material, creating a 3D object layer by layer.

The early days of 3D printing were mostly focused on rapid prototyping. Engineers and designers could create a physical model of their design, allowing them to test and refine their concepts quickly. 3D printing was initially limited to large companies due to the high cost of equipment and materials.

Advances in 3D Printing Technology

Over the years, 3D printing technology has become more advanced and affordable, making it accessible to a wider range of industries and individuals. In the 1990s, the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process was introduced, which used a plastic filament instead of a liquid photopolymer. This process made 3D printing more affordable and user-friendly.

In the early 2000s, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) was introduced, which used a laser to melt and fuse together fine powders to create 3D objects. This process allowed for the use of a wider range of materials, including metals and ceramics, and produced more durable and precise parts.

In recent years, new 3D printing technologies have emerged, such as Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) and Digital Light Processing (DLP). These technologies use light and other forms of energy to create 3D objects quickly and with high precision.

Current Applications of 3D Printing

3D printing is now being used in a wide range of industries, from aerospace and automotive to healthcare and fashion. It has enabled companies to create complex geometries and customized products that were previously impossible or very expensive to produce.

In the aerospace industry, 3D printing has been used to create lightweight, complex parts for airplanes and satellites. This has led to improved fuel efficiency and reduced costs. In the automotive industry, 3D printing has been used to create custom parts and prototypes quickly and at a lower cost.

In the healthcare industry, 3D printing has been used to create customized implants, prosthetics, and surgical tools. This has enabled doctors to provide better care and treatment for their patients. 3D printing has also been used to create models of organs and tissues for research and medical training purposes.

In the fashion industry, 3D printing has been used to create customized accessories and garments. This has allowed designers to create unique pieces and reduce waste by producing only what is needed.

Scientists Declare New 3D Resin Print Course of Is 30X Quicker

Scientists on the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have demonstrated an impressively speedy new 3D printing expertise. The demo used photocurable resin and focused intersecting mild beams to solidify exactly chosen areas of resin. Of their checks, the scientists discovered they may produce a pattern figurine 30x sooner than typical additive 3D printing methods.

This methodology of 3D printing, utilizing mild to harden selective areas of resin, was first devised at EPFL about 5 years in the past. It has taken that lengthy for the scientists to refine the method and be assured of their achievement, boasting their 3D printer is “one of many quickest on the planet.”