VELO3D, a metal PBF 3D printing startup that is rapidly establishing itself as one of the fastest-growing companies in the segment, is introducing a next-gen version Sapphire 3D printer, with as much as one meter on Z-axis build capabilities. CNC experts Knust-Godwin have signed on as the first customer for what can be considered one of the world’s tallest laser-powder additive manufacturing systems
Other systems exist that can print taller parts but are generally considered to be customized systems (such as those from EOS affiliate AMCM). The new VELO 3D system is intended as the first of a new generation of commercially available machines. The system will ship in Q4 2020 and compatible with nickel-based alloys. Like previous Sapphire 3D printers, it will be able to produce support-less metal parts leveraging advanced software capabilities.
“Our vision at VELO3D is to enable end-users to build whatever they want without the constraints of yesterday’s standards,” said Benny Buller, Founder and CEO of VELO3D. “One of those constraints is the build envelope. A meter-tall system enables industrial applications that couldn’t be built before, especially for oilfield service tools and flight hardware. Best of all, it will still utilize our highly patented SupportFree process, in-situ calibration, and process control for quality assurance.”
The immediate part opportunity that Knust-Godwin will address with the meter-tall Sapphire printer is a part for oilfield drilling that is currently manufactured by more than five subtractive processes. Additive manufacturing enables the consolidation of such traditional processes, improving part quality and part performance.
“There tends to be a trade-off between large-format additive machines and part quality; VELO3D is attractive to us because of their semiconductor heritage and engineering disciplines around process control and metrology,” stated Mike Corliss, VP of Technology at Knust-Godwin. “We have confidence that we’ll be able to build mission-critical industrial parts without compromises made to part quality.”
The technical features of the meter-tall Sapphire printer include a 315 mm-diameter build plate, dual 1kW lasers, in-situ optical calibration, and many of the same characteristics of the existing Sapphire machine. It will be the world’s tallest production metal-powder laser additive manufacturing system, exceeding the build height of both the SLM 800 and the GE Additive X Line 2000R.