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Carbon targets high-volume production with new L1 3D printer

Adidas and sports equipment manufacturer Riddell are early adopters of the large-format 3D printer

Since its founding in 2013, Carbon has set out to become a leader in polymer 3D printing. So far, the company seems to be on a steadily upwards path—having introduced a breakthrough resin production process known as CLIP and Digital Light Synthesis platforms, which have been adopted by high profile companies such as Adidas and Ford. Today, the company expands its hardware offering with the launch of the L1 3D printer.

The new L1 3D printer leverages the same process as Carbon’s existing M1 and M2 machines, but offers a much larger build volume—10 times bigger than the M1 and five times larger than the M2! The resin 3D printer is therefore well suited for high-volume production, turning out multiple parts in a single run.

Carbon L1 3D printer

The L1—the “L” is for large—is now available to Carbon customers on a limited basis, though the company does specify that before printing parts on the L1, the models need to be validated by Carbon in the design stage to ensure the best quality. In other words, the large-format 3D printer is not built for general purpose printing.

Adidas, which famously uses Carbon’s 3D printing technology to produce its FUTURECRAFT 4D running shoes, has already adopted the new L1, which will enable it to scale its production of 3D printed midsoles. In 2018, Carbon and Adidas reportedly 3D printed 100,000 pairs of the 4D midsoles.

Protect ya head

Riddell, an American sports equipment manufacturer, has also adopted Carbon’s L1 technology to bring the first customized, 3D printed helmet liners to market. The innovative helmet liner, integrated into Riddell’s SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmet, has a 3D printed lattice structure that contours to the wearer’s head and protects well against impact.

Carbon L1 3D printer

“As someone who’s spent thousands of hours watching film, I know that no two players play the same way,” said Peyton Manning, Riddell Strategic Advisor and Brand Ambassador (not to mention one of the best quarterbacks of all time). “They all have different styles and tendencies on the field, which is another key benefit to Riddell’s Diamond Technology. With the SpeedFlex Precision Diamond, players are not only experiencing the latest in head protection, they can also dictate where the helmet is positioned to improve sightlines and maximize field vision.”

You may have already seen some of the SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmets on the field, as a select few players in the NFL were given the custom helmets for the 2018 season. This year, the helmets will become commercially available on a limited basis for elite level players.

Carbon L1 3D printer

“Riddell is known for head protection leadership. Our partnership with Carbon, Silicon Valley’s leading digital manufacturer, reinforces our commitment to advancing on-field protection for football players,” said Thad Ide, Riddell Senior Vice President of Research and Product Development. “As the first to use digital manufacturing in football helmets, Riddell continues our industry leadership by embracing promising new technologies and advancing our innovation roadmap today and into the future.”

The helmet liners are printed from a custom, highly damping elastomer resin and are constructed from an optimized lattice geometry made up of over 140,000 individual struts. The struts have been patterned in such a way to absorb the most impact while still offering comfort and a custom fit.

Carbon L1 3D printer

Though already advanced, Riddell says it plans to further improve the helmet by using its proprietary data of over 5 million impacts captured by its smart helmet technology to customize the tuning of the 3D printed lattice.

“At Carbon, we believe in using the power of technology to advance innovation. Our platform enables companies like Riddell to make products that were never thought possible,” added CEO and Co-founder Dr. Joseph DeSimone. “With this partnership, Riddell becomes one of the largest users of 3D printers in the world. We are proud to be at the forefront of digital manufacturing of protective equipment.”

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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