Each component of the Studio System is designed strategically to make it easier to realize the full potential of in-house metal 3D printing.
Integrated throughout the entire process, Fabricate™ software provides an intuitive guide for the user and automates metal 3D fabrication. From simplified model prep to auto-generated part placement instructions, it consolidates and applies knowledge from world-leading materials scientists and metal 3D printing experts to take the guesswork out of achieving high-quality parts with good metallurgical properties.
During model prep, Fabricate identifies potential issues with support removal—in other words, instances in which a connected support structure would get trapped within or locked around the part. In these cases, the software creates a “seam” through the support structure that divides it into easily removable sections.
The software analyzes the geometry and creates structural supports that prevent deformation and promote uniform shrinkage as the part moves through fabrication. It then designs a ceramic interface layer that will print between the part and its supports. This layer disintegrates in the furnace to enable Separable Supports™ that are easily removed by hand.
Advanced settings in Fabricate allows users to adjust shell thickness between 1mm-6mm. Thicker shells provide extra material for machinability and finishing and contribute to improved overall part strength while thinner shells can reduce overall fabrication by enabling faster debind cycles.
Fabricate automatically orients parts for full process success. It identifies the most successful orientation by analyzing the part’s performance at each stage of fabrication -- print through sintering—and optimizing for successful sintering, surface quality, and print time.
Based on the material, part geometry, and user-defined settings, the software generates complete fabrication profiles for print, debind, and sintering. There is no need to weigh parts before and after debinding, no need for data entry into the software to determine cycle times, and no manual entry of equipment instructions.
Three-panel clear siding and glass double-doors surround the printer exterior to provide full visibility into the build chamber. The media compartment houses four cartridges (two build media, two interface media) and the interior features a high-performance extrusion assembly—all built to support a seamless process and quality metal parts.
Bound metal rods provide several benefits over spooled filament including higher metal material loading, ultimate part quality and uninterrupted printing. Rods allow for a higher volumetric percent of metal powder to binder as they do not require the flexibility of a spooled filament. This has a direct impact on reliable part shrinkage and higher density. Additionally, users are able to utilize the entire cartridge during printing, and swap to replace without pausing or disturbing the print, unlike spooled filament which require a constant feed and storage of partial spools.
In addition to a standard resolution (400-micron) printhead, an optional high-resolution (250-micron) printhead with supporting software profiles achieves four times the resolution—ideal for small parts and/or intricate design features.
Quick-release printheads and push-to-release cartridges, enable material changes in a matter of minutes while preventing cross-contamination as you move from one alloy to another. This is compared with alternative technologies where such material changes require hours—or even days—of manual labor and equipment downtime.
By separating shape creation from sintering, we are able to optimize each step of fabrication independently—creating complex geometry and high surface quality during print, and optimizing material properties during sintering. Additionally, unlike welding -based processes like DMLS which render non-uniform microstructures, Bound Metal Deposition is able to process non-weldable materials and achieve uniform microstructures.
The Studio System features the only solvent debind equipment designed specifically for office-friendly metal 3D printing. With single-chamber processing, parts go in dry and come out dry and require no manual intervention mid-cycle. Instead of stagnant pools of fluid, it features automatic fluid distillation and recycling between cycles to ensure an effective debind every time.
Debinding with the Studio System is a single-step, software-managed process. Unlike traditional solvent debind equipment, the Studio System debinder requires no manual intervention or guesswork. Simply load the parts as instructed and press start—the system will tell you when the cycle is complete and your parts are ready for sintering.
Solvent debind requires harsh chemicals to break down the polymer and wax binder found in FFF metal parts. Typically, these chemicals are odorous, flammable, and necessitate external ventilation and respiratory PPE. This is why we designed our debinder to be fully enclosed and developed a non-flammable solvent—eliminating the need for a fume hood or external ventilation.
A disposable waste canister at the front of the unit collects binder during the solvent distillation process following each cycle. Once the canister is full, the onboard UI automatically prompts the user to dispose of the canister and guides the user through replacement.
Due to the harsh nature of debind fluids, operators are typically required to wear protective gear during handling. This is to protect the user from exposure to open chemicals and wet parts. Because Studio System parts enter and exit the debinder completely dry and all debind fluid is drained during operation, users are free to use the system without the need for mask.
Automated fluid distillation and recycling filters used debind fluid and collects binder in a removable trap. This allows for continued use of the unit with easy-to-manage, periodic top-ups. The on-board UI tracks available fluid and alerts users if the job requires more fluid than is available.
Featuring a 768 cu in stackable graphite retort, sophisticated vapor management and a fully accessible chamber, the Studio System furnace is the first and only office-friendly metal sintering unit in the market. Built to scale to your shops needs, the furnace easily handles multi-part jobs and reaches max temperatures of 1400°C to support high-density sintering.
The furnace chamber opens up to reveal a fully accessible chamber with a stackable retort. Unlike standard tube furnaces, part placement, loading and unloading is quick, easy and clean.
An adjustable shelving system in the retort allows for sintering of one or multiple layers of parts — enabling flexible, efficient batch processing for parts of all sizes.
Powered push-button open and closure of the furnace lid ensure a reliable and precise seal for all sintering runs without the need for any tools or manual tightening.
The graphite retort offers a thermally conductive, uniform heating chamber with built-in gas channels throughout— delivering greater thermal uniformity when compared to tube furnaces and allowing equal gas flow throughout all layers.
Good metallurgy requires thermal uniformity and high temperatures. That’s why we built our furnace to be capable of reaching a peak temperature of 1400°C—a temperature necessary to sinter many metals to the highest densities achievable. In contrast, furnaces that reach only 1300°C render many steels only 94% dense.
The furnace assembly features heating elements surrounding the retort from all sides. This heating element placement, combined with the stacking retort, contributes to our unique ability to maintain ±5°C at sintering temperatures, contributing to uniform sintering throughout the large chamber.
During the thermal debind process, remaining binder in the part is heated and converted to vapor. The furnace vacuum pump pulls the binder vapors from the chamber into the binder trap where the vapors can cool and condense—eliminating contamination, ensuring correct metallurgy and regular shrinkage. The vacuum pump also contributes to drastically reduced gas consumption and higher density parts while the binder trap ensures the unit continues to run smoothly with reduced need for maintenance.
The Studio System furnace features a 10x larger sintering volume compared to a standard tube furnace. The overall volume enables users to sinter larger parts (max printed part size os 12” x 8” x 8”, compared to 2.5” x 2.6” x 9”) while its modular stacking retort allows for sintering large batches of parts of any size—lowering cost per part.