Of all the families of materials used for additive manufacturing, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites present unique characteristics, benefits and challenges. Additive manufacturing promises to evolve the adoption of composite materials, making it more efficient, cost-effective and fast to mass produce parts that can offer an unparalleled combination of properties.

The reason why that is not the case is that traditional composite manufacturing – based on woven fiber sheets in a  thermoset (epoxy) resin matrix is among the most manual labor intensive – and costly  –  among manufacturing processes. Composites today are used to make high end automotive, sports equipment, medical and aircraft parts: products that are highly customized and not mass-produced. The ultimate goal of the firms working on additive manufacturing of composites is to make the production of composite parts scalable, without sacrificing materials properties.

Achieving this goal requires some of the most complex manufacturing engineering know-how, along with some of the most complex manufacturing hardware and software that has ever been developed. The transition towards automated, mass-produced composite parts will be a gradual one. Additive manufacturing is the core element of it but it is not the only one: new technologies are emerging that more or less seamlessly combine AM processes within an automated end-to-end workflow in order to ensure the highest level of performance. This is inextricably connected to the use of continuous fibers.

However, composites AM is not just about top part performance but also about improving the performance of polymer 3D printed parts, to make parts stronger, lighter and larger. This is where additive manufacturing of chopped fiber composites found its – rapidly growing –  niche. 3D printing with chopped fibers of differing lengths is much less complicated than 3D printing with continuous fibers and it emerged first.

  • F120 Stratasys 3D printer

    Stratasys launches FDM ABS-CF10 carbon fiber material

    Carbon fiber materials have proven extremely popular on Stratasys’ industrial-scale FDM 3D printers for a variety of end-use applications, such as jigs, fixtures and tooling. With FDM ABS-CF10, Stratasys now makes carbon fiber much more accessible to the engineering and manufacturing community using high-performance F170, F270, and F370 3D printers.…

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  • Ingersoll MasterPrint achieves full vacuum integrity on massive 3D printed aerospace tool

    Ingersoll MasterPrint reported that it has achieved full vacuum integrity on a large 3D printed aerospace composite layup tool without any sealant or coating. The tool measures 3.0m x 1.0m x 1.5m, is made of autoclave capable Dahltram I-350CF from Airtech Advanced Materials Group, and weighs 950 lbs. Its hollow…

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  • Superstrata ships first composite 3D printed bike

    Superstrata, the company founded by Arevo Labs to commercialize composite 3D printed bikes and e-bikes, has shipped the first Superstrata bike. The bike marks a significant milestone as it represents one of the very first continuous fiber-reinforced composites 3D printed consumer products ever to hit the market. As such it…

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  • Skydio and Arris will implement Additive Molding in drone design and manufacturing

    Leading US-based drone manufacturer Skydio and Arris, a leader in advanced manufacturing of high-performance products, have redefined airframe design leveraging Additive Molding, Arris’s breakthrough carbon fiber manufacturing technology.  Starting with the new Skydio X2 drone, enterprise, public sector and defense customers will benefit from lighter, longer-range, and more robust aircraft…

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  • New 3dpbm webinar explores key opportunities for composites AM

    A new webinar organized by 3dpbm leverages findings in the latest market report to discuss opportunities for composites AM with key segment stakeholders. The webinar is scheduled for next December 9th, at 2 pm UTC (3pm CET / 9am ET) and is free to attend. The recently published report from…

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  • The 15 composites AM companies to keep your eye on

    3dpbm Research‘s recently released report on Composites Additive Manufacturing Opportunities 2020 – 2030 (hardware, materials and applications) presented a detailed picture of the current state of this segment with projections on the business potential for the next ten years. Out of the over 50 companies interviewed and analyzed for the…

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  • Titan Robotics and Jabil collaborate to optimize materials for LFAM

    Titan Robotics, a manufacturer of large-format extrusion 3D printers is partnering with Jabil Engineered Materials to qualify and integrate customized materials for use on Titan’s pellet-based Atlas 3D printers. The unit of Jabil Additive working with Titan develops polymer formulations and compounds at its ISO 9001 Materials Innovation Center. Together,…

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  • DSM introduces EcoPaXX AM4001 GF bio-based pellets for 3D printing

    Royal DSM is introducing EcoPaXX AM4001 GF (G), a new high-performance material for fused granulate fabrication or 3D pellet printing. This 3D printing optimized version of the EcoPaXX material used in end-use parts is a fit-for-purpose material that delivers on performance and sustainability. “EcoPaXX AM4001 GF (G) is the first…

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  • Superstrata store opens for custom 3D printed carbon fiber bikes

    Superstrata, a Silicon Valley-based bicycle brand, known for its 3D printed carbon fiber bicycles and e-bicycles, is launching the Superstrata store with custom products and an advanced online configurator on the company’s official portal. In 3dpbm Research’s recently released market report, the composites AM market is expected to evolve into…

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  • Firefly Aerospace to automate composite rocket production with two Ingersoll AFP systems

    In order to increase its manufacturing capacity, Firefly is transitioning large composites parts manufacturing to an automated fiber placement Ingersoll AFP Mongoose Hybrid systems from Ingersoll Machine Tools, beginning next year. Once fully operational, Firefly’s AFP capabilities will enable it to produce its all-composite Alpha rocket airframe in as little…

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