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Revolutionizing mold inserts with Axtra3D’s Lumia X1 and BASF Forward AM’s Ultracur3D RG3280 material

Enhancing print throughput by 2-20x compared to conventional technologies thanks to its Hybrid PhotoSynthesis (HPS) and TruLayer technologies

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Axtra3D, a company specializing in the development of advanced additive manufacturing solutions, is revolutionizing the photopolymerization AM industry with its Lumia X1 3D printer. The company’s combination of innovative hardware and materials has resulted in multiple successful applications – one such being that of mold inserts enabled by its Hybrid PhotoSynthesis (HPS) technology and BASF Forward AM’s Ultracur3D RG3280 material.

The Lumia X1 Hi-Speed SLA system

The Lumia X1 specs include an XY resolution of 50 µm; wavelength of 405; max print volume (XYZ) of 250 x 140 x 500 mm / 9.8 x 5.5 x 19.6 in / 17.3 L.

The system stands out due to four key innovations that are collectively redefining 3D printing. First, the Hybrid PhotoSynthesis (HPS) technology combines a Laser and Digital Light Processing (DLP). This dual imaging capability enables the creation of exceptionally high-resolution parts with large flat surfaces, at a very high throughput.

Revolutionizing mold inserts with Axtra3D's Lumia X1 and BASF’s Ultracur3D RG3280 material, thanks to HPS and TruLayer technologies. Secondly, TruLayer Separation is a layer transition and separation technology that facilitates the rapid detachment of the active print layer – seamlessly transitioning to the next layer. It eliminates hydrostatic forces on the cured layer (commonly seen in film-based DLP/LCD 3D printers) and removes customary wait times between layers – resulting in a glass-like, highly polished surface directly from the machine.

The third innovation, TruLayer Adaption, ensures dynamic monitoring and adjustment of the glass plate for absolute flatness within the desired tolerance for each layer. Unlike other DLP/LCD 3D printers, the glass plate can be dynamically adjusted to maintain the resin’s thickness to the desired layer height – eliminating the need for prolonged curing.

Finally, the Z-axis innovation mounts the print platform on a dual Z-axis – restricting its movement to ensure true vertical straight motion. This eliminates any unintentional pivots that can vary the layer thickness across the platform, a common issue in single Z-axis mounted platforms on other DLP, SLA, or LCD printers.

“Axtra3D’s Lumia X1 printer offers unique technology that combines DLP speed with SLA sidewall quality, providing customers with new material options and high accuracy that rivals or surpasses competitors. Our partnership with Axtra3D has been great as we work together to push the limits of their technology. We’re excited about the future of Axtra3D,” said Ben DeGrave, Production Manager at Prototek, a digital manufacturing service provider.

The Lumia X1 eliminates tradeoffs between throughput, accuracy, feature resolution, and surface finish – making it suitable for both industrial and medical applications. The synergy between HPS and TruLayer technologies results in a remarkable 2-20x enhancement in print throughput compared to conventional technologies, irrespective of the layer surface area. Furthermore, the ability to print large cross-sections with a 20-micron surface flatness ensures a glass-like, highly polished surface directly from the machine.

Revolutionizing mold inserts with Axtra3D's Lumia X1 and BASF’s Ultracur3D RG3280 material, thanks to HPS and TruLayer technologies.

The available materials include durable; tough; rigid; elastomer; high-temperature; clear; castable; ceramic-filled; fire retardant; ESD; dental; and biocompatible materials. Key material partners include BASF Forward AM; 3D Systems; Henkel; NextDent; Keystone; and Pro3Dure.

“It’s only a matter of time of people noticing the importance of this collaboration of two technologies into one, DLP filling while you have the accuracy and surface finish of the laser,” said Kirill Tulinov, Carbon Lab Supervisor at Dinsmore, a 3D printing service provider utilizing Axtra3D’s technology.

Tailored business models

Axtra3D offers two core business models to meet diverse customer needs. Axtra Solutions delivers fully optimized, turnkey solutions – ensuring customers receive complete, ready-to-use 3D printing setups, leveraging the expertise of Axtra3D’s Applications team and quality material partners. Meanwhile, Axtra OpenAccess™ provides a flexible approach that allows customers to explore and experiment with new materials and applications – enabling innovation and adaptation to evolving project requirements.

Mold inserts

One of the most successful applications of the Lumia X1 system and BASF Forward AM’s Ultracur3D RG3280 material is in the production of mold inserts. Traditional tooling often results in longer lead times and higher costs due to the expense of materials such as tool steel and aluminum, and complex machining cycles. Axtra3D’s solution using the Lumia X1 HPS 3D printer and Ultracur3D RG 3280, a ceramic-loaded polymer, revolutionizes this process – reducing the time from design to injected part to just one day, without compromising on quality or design integrity.

The combination of high stiffness and temperature resistance of RG 3280 with Lumia’s HPS and TruLayer process yields mold inserts that are accurate within 20-microns and exhibit crisp feature details. The inserts are ready to use after simple post-curing, with no need for extensive post-processing or post-machining of the inserts – resulting in significant cost and time savings. Ultracur3D RG3280 material’s temperature performance and durability allow for hundreds of shots before showing signs of failure, with the potential to increase up to 3,000 shots with softer materials like TPE or TPU. Specifically, due to the flatness tolerance possible on the Lumia X1, the mating surfaces of the mold insert align perfectly and eliminate any need for post-print machining of the inserts.

Revolutionizing mold inserts with Axtra3D's Lumia X1 and BASF’s Ultracur3D RG3280 material, thanks to HPS and TruLayer technologies.

Becton Dickinson case study

Becton Dickinson (BD), a multinational medical technology company, has successfully utilized the Lumia X1 for rapid iteration and low-volume production. For instance, the tooling design took 45 minutes, the print process took 54 minutes, and post-processing and machining to fit into the mold took a total of 120 minutes – a total of less than five hours from start to finish – and the company injected over 300 polycarbonate parts from a single set of molds. The total cost to produce the 3D printed mold inserts was less than $100.

“We’ve had the machine since May of 2023. The only downtime we had was when Axtra came because they wanted to upgrade our system, so we really haven’t experienced any machine downtime. Mold inserts built on the Lumia X1 have reduced our turnaround time dramatically. We can now go from a design to an injected part by the end of the day,” said Brett Charlton, Senior Manager of Digital Engineering at Becton Dickinson.

Axtra3D’s Lumia X1 and BASF Forward AM’s Ultracur3D RG3280 material are proving to be game-changers in the field of mold inserts – offering unprecedented speed, accuracy, and cost-efficiency. This collaboration of the two technologies exemplifies how the company is transforming traditional manufacturing processes and paving the way for more innovative and efficient production methods.

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