You folks familiar with the Markforged printer? Nylon-Carbon Fiber-Kevlar-Fiberglass
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    Default You folks familiar with the Markforged printer? Nylon-Carbon Fiber-Kevlar-Fiberglass



    Really excited to get test parts from this printer... they just released the Mark 2 version which can print much smaller areas of fiber reinforcement, and 40% faster than the original version. We've been casually researching additive tech for a few years and finally have decided to take the plunge, now that there exists a printer capable of making working mechanical parts... Should come in handy for stuff like jaws, jigs, tools, machine parts around the shop and for robot stuff, you name it. Very much looking forward to it!

    Anyone else using this machine and have experiences to share?

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    I've seen it demoed a few times. Their process is fairly limited to '2D profiles with depth', if you will. For the right application, I'm sure it's incredible. Holding their demo bracket link in your hand makes you a believer in what this style of mixed material printing can accomplish.

    A limiting factor for them seems to be how they can toolpath an object, seeing as how you're now dealing with an unbroken strand of carbon fiber you're weaving into each layer in a very specific way to build strength. I'm shocked that companies like Mastercam aren't jumping on the bandwagon for posts for machines like this, because it seems 95% of the toolpath work is already done in other forms.

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    Yea, the long unbroken strand of fiber was a bit of a limitation in the original version, the Mark 2 units can chop that fiber down to 1" long so it can fit into much tighter areas and reinforcement patterns. Super impressed with the concept, looking forward to it!

    Not sure if any other CAM solution would offer an advantage, after all you're still limited to the XY plane of printing.

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    Nylon will only get one so far, but it's remarkable what can be done already.

    I would bet money they're working on a machine that uses two-part epoxy with a UV cure.

    Also, to my mind the "missing filament" is copper — electrical conduction is an important feature to be able to integrate into a composite part. Given the ability to create self-potted conductors & coils, such a machine could print out most of a DC induction motor in one shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bishopdante View Post
    Nylon will only get one so far, but it's remarkable what can be done already.

    I would bet money they're working on a machine that uses two-part epoxy with a UV cure.

    Also, to my mind the "missing filament" is copper — electrical conduction is an important feature to be able to integrate into a composite part. Given the ability to create self-potted conductors & coils, such a machine could print out most of a DC induction motor in one shot.
    It already exists: copperFill | LulzBot.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpolseno41 View Post
    It already exists: copperFill | LulzBot.com
    That's not what I'm talking about at all. That's basically a mixture of resin and copper dust. In terms of creating a motor coil it's highly unsuitable. By filament I'm referring to a metallic strand, what would be called "fiber" in this case, but I simply refuse to call thin copper wire a fiber.

    There are big problems attempting to build an electromagnetic inductor using conductive resin made from a mixture of metal dust and plastic.

    #1: conductivity is not guaranteed and may fluctuate drastically and result in a lot of impedance, resulting in a lot of heat, probably resulting in a melted coil at exactly the point of bottleneck, it'd blow like a fuse.

    #2: the conductive bead laid down would require some sort of non-conductive insulation in order to form inductor coils, would this be a surface coating, perhaps some sort of paint, or more resin of a different sort?

    #3: the resolution of the deposition process would restrict the winding density and also the proximity of the windings to each other.

    _____________

    In terms of creating an electrical conductive resin or ink, generally silver is required to produce a high enough conductivity, which is how most conductive glues and resins currently work. Carbon nanotubes have also been tried.

    _____________

    What I'm talking about is enamelled copper wire laid in precise patterns within the resin material. This would permit the creation of novel types of potted inductor integrated with formed mechanical parts. An insulated solid metal wire is very different in electrical properties compared to a printed resin conductor. In terms of the thickness of the wire, heavy gauges might be a big challenge, but thin gauges as found in small servomotors could probably be achieved with the existing machine.

    It's the ability of the machine to align and position fibers precisely within the resin that's the killer and unique feature of this device, to my mind a good conductor is the missing piece of the puzzle. Copper is not the only possible metal, either. Steel would be pretty structural, although it might cut into the nylon due to hardness incompatibility, if used in the correct pattern it would be stronger than vanilla nylon.

    The other feasible option I can think of to make electrically conductive fiber is that carbon fiber can be electroplated, typically used in military aircraft for electromagnetic shielding, so an electrically conductive copper-plated carbon fiber coated with an insulator might already be available. Given non-insulated fiber, one could make thicker conductors by layering the fiber with minimal resin.

    Different software for designing the conductive parts might be required, but having a mechanically-resilient potted carbon-copper fiber coil probably would improve the performance of an induction motor or transformer, especially given the ability to print copper fiber and steel fiber 2d-layered in arbitrary configurations.


    _____________


    As-is the nylon carbon & kevlar reinforced parts are some of the most mechanically rugged parts that can be additively formed, and nylon is quite compatible with other materials, wood, metals, plenty of feasible glues, so it's a highly stackable process, can mix materials fairly arbitrarily, so as a general-purpose temporary or permanent interface material there's a lot of options that get opened up.

    Nylon can also be electroplated with various metals, typically nickel and chromium, which can improve the wear characteristic and also permit the design of electrical connectors.
    Last edited by bishopdante; 06-07-2016 at 07:42 AM.

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    Bishop, I think copper/conductor wire print into a part would be incredible... I've no doubt it's something we will see very soon. Maybe in this very printer! They have added a new material called Onyx just released, and Polycarb coming next... I will inquire with them about conductors being laid in when I call em next time. Still haven't pulled the trigger on this but it's coming up... other higher priorities for equipment like new lathes and brakes and robots and so forth. Printing parts is not far off though, useful applications present themselves on a weekly basis whether it's small prototypes for regular customers, parts for custom equipment and jigs, working prototypes for engineering changes, you name it.

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    I've already had a few chats with them about the copper wire option early last year, and they seemed pretty quick on the uptake. I think if enough people keep up the pressure and inquire, then it's inevitable. Many inductive/conductive devices could be designed and engineered which would otherwise be impossible.

    The concept of thermoplastic + fiber is highly extensible, and they are definitely onto something special, even more so if ultra-tough and heat resistant thermosets such as polycarbonate can be involved. Would be great to see an epoxy or an enamel binder.

    The idea of being able to print out composite multi-material assemblies is very exciting.

    In terms of metal wire (fibers), carbon steel, silicon-steel, stainless steel, cromoly, titanium, aluminium, tungsten, nickel, nitinol, phosphor bronze, and the wide range of varnishes / surface treatments available to provide electrical insulation and ideal adhesion to the resin/binder could result in all sorts of mechanical, electromagnetic and heat-controlling composite properties. As a designer it's tantalising to consider what'll become possible in the near future.

    Also let us not forget the many fabulous synthetic polymer fibers available aside from carbon and kevlar, such as HMWPE, vectran, alumina etc.

    _______

    I really do expect that composites and complex structural multi-material layup is where the additive processes will really excel, in that anisotropic parts assembled slowly and painstakingly is the typical result of employing an additive process, and that can be a very useful quality as much as a hindrance.

    It'd be remarkable to be able to perform a similar process to the markforged machine with a metal binder rather than a plastic, also. The whole problem with metal matrix composites such as carbon fiber-aluminium is the orientation of the fibers, and their tendency to separate from the material or gather in undesirable areas of the part if moulded using conventional casting / moulding processes.

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    Markforged is on a roll with new printing tech... new materials with the Mark 2 and Mark X line, and now a new form of metal printing with the Metal X. the powdered metal is blended into a plastic support/filler and fed by filament, no metal powder to deal with. Should be super cool!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by apoc_101 View Post
    Markforged is on a roll with new printing tech... new materials with the Mark 2 and Mark X line, and now a new form of metal printing with the Metal X. the powdered metal is blended into a plastic support/filler and fed by filament, no metal powder to deal with. Should be super cool!!!
    Metal X looks cool, but the part density out of those machines seems to range pretty significantly. 95%-97% density range can be a meaningful QA issue. As 3D Printing technology continues to develop we'll start to see the wheat separate from the chaff, and the best systems will pull away from the others.

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    I used the MarkOne recently... really cool machine for composite FDM, even in its first iteration!

    Hopefully they fixed a few of the issues on the Mark Two.

    Metal X looks cool, but the part density out of those machines seems to range pretty significantly. 95%-97% density range can be a meaningful QA issue. As 3D Printing technology continues to develop we'll start to see the wheat separate from the chaff, and the best systems will pull away from the others.
    I agree... not going to rival every current metals process just yet in terms of final part quality.

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    Hey how's it going, we actually just got the Markforged Onyx series at my job and have started using it. The material is really strong but it makes prints pretty expensive which is kind of frustrating. We have a full metal shop on site and sometimes its actually cheaper to quickly fabricate parts out of aluminum. The carbon fiber/nylon blend it prints with is pretty touchy too. You have to make sure you keep your spool in a very dry place (we use a modified pelican box to feed the material). If the spool is exposed to humid air for more than 10-15 minutes it is borderline ruined and all of your prints will be low quality and stringy. I would recommend buying the model that allows to print cheaper polymers as well so you don't always have to print stuff that is so costly, especially if you want to print test pieces to make sure everything fits nicely and/or it does the job required. I will say this stuff comes out very ready for use and is impressively strong. I just printed out corner supports for an acrylic tank I am building and I am really happy with the results.

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