The many well-funded startups worldwide is one sign of 3D printing’s maturity. Rize Inc. is one example worth noting, just ask Reebok and Boston Engineering.
The Boston area is one of several hubs for 3D printing around the world. Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) begat Z Corporation, which was eventually acquired by 3D Systems. Formlabs, probably the most successful 3D printer campaign on Kickstarter, makes its home there. 3Doodler, Desktop Metal, Markforged, NVBOTS and Voxel8 are there, with Viridis3D and Solidscape just north of the city. Even 3D Systems and Stratasys have operations in the Boston area.
I recently visited Rize located just off Route 128 in Woburn MA. Founded by key management and research personnel from Z Corporation and Objet (which merged with Stratasys), incorporating more than 20 patents, and backed by investors Longworth and SB Capital, the company came out of stealth mode this summer.
Rize’s 3D printer employs a combination of polymer extrusion and fluid jetting. The company’s patented Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) process involves extruding proprietary engineering- and medical-grade thermoplastic, Rizium™ One. A release layer is jetted between the part and the support material. Indeed, removing most supports is as simple as (and actually sounds like) pulling apart two Velcro strips.
The jetting process also incorporates a marking ink that, presently, enables 1 color text and images throughout the build. Rize is working on a 6-color device that has room for 3 printheads, each with two channels, for a total of 6 channels that will incorporate four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), the release agent and another agent that smooths the surface.
How APD Works
Source: Rize Inc.
The result today is a part with a relatively smooth surface that requires next to no post-processing. According to Gary Rabinovitz, AM Lab Manager, Reebok and Chairman of the Board, Additive Manufacturing User Group (AMUG), the Rize™ One beta printer enabled Reebok “to deliver parts as much as 50% faster than similar technologies, while reducing the cost of labor, materials and equipment.”
Rize says that its printer builds isotropic parts that are two times stronger than one of its competitor’s ABS parts, with 0% loss in the Z axis. When used within the capabilities of Rize’s thermoplastic, the output is well-suited to rapid and iterative functional prototyping as well as making tools, jigs and fixtures. Parts could be used in custom manufacturing environments, again when the finished good’s performance requirements are within the device’s capabilities.
Sample Rize Part
Source: Pete Basiliere
Rize claims its intellectual property enables the printer to change material properties voxel by voxel. Variable hardness throughout the build can result in more realistic prototypes as well as finished goods such as hearing aid and speaker shells with a smooth surface that are more comfortable.
The Rize One costs $19,000 as a stand-alone purchase or $25,000 when a workstation and startup material supply are included. Rize plans to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2017. The Rize One offers zero-post-processing of color thermoplastic parts with isotropic strength at a price point that makes it an enterprise-class, desktop 3D printer worth evaluating.
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