Z Corp. Introduces New Rapid Prototyping Tool

DN Staff

May 19, 2010

3 Min Read
Z Corp. Introduces New Rapid Prototyping Tool

The big news on the first day of Rapid 2010 was theunveiling of a new rapid prototyping machine from ZCorp. that builds high-endfunctional prototypes at one-third the price of stereolithography machines withcomparable performance. Called the ZBuilder Ultra, the machine will beavailable in July.

Your browser may not support display of this image.TheZBuilder Ultra builds durable plastic parts that rival injection molding'saccuracy, material properties, detail and surface finish, says Joe Titlow,director of product development from Z Corp., Bulington, MA.Like other rapid prototyping systems, it enables engineers to verify designsfor form, fit and function prior to full-scale production, eliminating costlymodifications to production tooling and speeding time to market.

The ZBuilder Ultra builds 3D parts additively using ahigh-resolution Digital Light Processor (DLP) projector to solidify a liquidphotopolymer instead of the laser systems used in stereolithography systems.The technology was developed by a company called envisonTec,which has focused on medical and jewelry applications. Titlow says envisionTECis licensing the technology to Z Corp. to develop industrial mechanicalmarkets.

Z Corp. is working with envisionTEC on new materialstechnology that will extend potential industrial applications. EnvisionTEC is based in Gladbeck,Germany, but ismanufacturing the ZBuilder in California.

The technology is a significant expansion of the Z Corp.product line. Z Corp. began in 1995 with an exclusive license for a 3D printingtechnology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology based on aplaster-type material. An inkjet-like printing head driven by a CAD file movesacross a bed of powder, depositing a liquid material in the shape of thesection. A fresh layer of powder is spread across the top of the model, and theprocess is repeated.

The ZBuilder puts Z Corp. into functional testing marketswhere engineers want parts with some flexibility and more accurate details. Thenew system produces part features within +/- 0.008 inches (+/- 0.2 mm). Thedata differ somewhat by geometry and process. Minimum feature size is 0.005inches (138 microns).

"For concept and mid-stage modeling when you need speed, lowcost, and visual appeal, our ZPrinters are the fastest and only color 3Dprinters on the market. And when the material properties of a part areimportant for final design verification, the affordable ZBuilder delivers partsthat rival injection molding. Bottom line, engineers now have a single sourcefor the best design technologies."

The build size of the system is 10.2 x 6.3 x 7.5 inches (260x 160 x 190 mm). The suggested retail price in the USA is $34,900.

Organizers of Rapid 2010 said that attendance is up slightlyfrom Rapid 2009, and that the industry seems to be recovering from a weak 2008and 2009. Rethia Williams, senior project engineer at Boeing, was awardedthe Industry Achievement Award from the RapidTechnologies and Additive Manufacturing community of the Society ofManufacturing Engineers (SME).

Z Corp. Introduces New Rapid Prototyping Tool

Z Corp. Introduces New Rapid Prototyping Tool A

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