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Anisoprint launches new composite basalt fiber material for continuous fiber 3D printing

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Anisoprint, a Skolkovo-based company that is emerging as the first direct competitor to Markforged’s continuous composite fiber 3D printing technology, is introducing a new composite basalt fiber material for use with its 3D printers. The new material is said to have better properties than metal or plastic: 15 times stronger than plastic, 5 times lighter than steel, 1.5 times stronger and lighter than aluminum. It is now available on the company’s website together with the Anisoprint Composer 3D Printer.

The company is reporting that by using anisoprinting technology with CBF, overall part costs can be cut by half if compared to parts produced using metal or high-performance plastics.

In a recent application case, a helicopter factory needed a mold for sheet metal forming. The die needed to be able to bear a 400 bar pressure. Plywood’s — the traditional material used in this case— has a short lifespan. A metal die would last longer but costs significantly more. The ideal option to extend the part’s lifespan and reduce costs was to print the die with continuous composite fiber.

Composite Basalt Fiber

Anisoprinting technology is based on a continuous composite fiber coextrusion process very similar to that used by Markforged. Coextrusion allows using different types of thermoplastic polymers as a matrix material to be reinforced with continuous composite fibers. The technology makes it possible to vary fiber direction, volume ratio, and material density. In the example above, 30% of composite infill is enough to resist the required 400 bar pressure. Thus less material is required, further decreasing costs. Users can also choose higher infill density or different plastics to satisfy the required loading conditions.

With the addition of this new material, Anisoprint now has two reinforcing materials: composite carbon fiber (CCF) and composite basalt fiber (CBF). During printing, the reinforcing fiber is combined with a plastic (PETG, ABS, PC, PLA or Nylon) to obtain strong and lightweight parts with the desired chemical or thermal resistance and surface quality properties.

Basalt also presents one more interesting feature: radio transparency. Parts made of composite basalt fiber do not significantly alter the amplitude and phase of radio-frequency electromagnetic waves transmitted through it. This makes it an ideal option for any non-conductive elements and insulators.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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