VormVrij, a Dutch manufacturer of clay 3D printers, has introduced its latest model: the LUTUM v4. The new machine, unveiled as a prototype at Fabcon+RapidTech in Messe Erfurt earlier this month, integrates a number of upgrades for more versatile and overall better clay prints.
For starters, with a build envelope of 430 x 460 x 510 mm, the LUTUM v4 boasts a significantly larger build volume than VormVrij’s preceding model, the v3, especially on the height front. (The v3, for comparison has a build envelop of 430 x 420 x 440 mm.) By upping the build scale, users will have more freedom in creating clay objects.
A number of upgrades have also been integrated into the printer’s hardware to improve reliability and performance. For instance, unlike VormVrij’s previous printer models which were constructed from metal and wood frames, the LUTUM v4 has a full metal body. This, says VormVrij, provides more weight, solidity and balance to the 3D printer which enhances its ability to carefully print fine or delicate objects.
The printer’s metal parts have also been subject to structural updates and are reportedly made from “custom designed aluminium extrusions.” VormVrij has also developed a new internal layout for the printer which protects the machine’s electronics from water and dust—potentially damaging materials which are often in abundance in pottery studios and workshops.
The LUTUM v4 is accompanied by VormVrij’s new v9 extruder, made from “solid 18/10 food safe stainless steel.” The new nozzle model is available in different sizes, ranging from 0.6 mm to 7 mm in diameter. Layer heights also vary depending on the nozzle size and range between 0.5 and 2.5 mm. Other notable upgrades include built-in safety valves which stop the flow of air when the 3D printer is off and a big “stop” button for emergencies.
VormVrij specifies that print speeds are also variable, depending on the layer/nozzle size, the type of design and the viscosity of the clay material being used. Generally though, print speeds range between 20 mm/s and 100 mm/s and can be controlled by the user throughout the printing process.
In terms of materials, the LUTUM v4 can be fitted with two different clay cartridges (640cc and 1400cc) that screw directly onto the extruder and offer compatibility with a variety of clay materials. The Dutch company adds that French clay manufacturer Imerys is currently working on developing a new porcelain clay specifically for the LUTUM v4.
Interested clients will be able to choose from three LUTUM v4 models: the basic LUTUM v4 unit, the v4 MXL (with a print height of up to 800 mm) and the v4 DUAL which comes with two extruders and enables multi-material (or multi-colour) printing. Both the basic unit and the MXL model can be upgraded with a second extruder at any point. Pricing starts at €6,350 for the basic model.
VormVrij’s new LUTUM v4 is already being used by a small group of clients (including local Dutch potters, Belgian artists and research centers) who have received their pre-ordered printer models. VormVrij adds that additional French, German, Portuguese and American universities will install their own LUTUM v4 printers over the summer.