Carbon's latest products demonstrate the next evolution in 3D printing for prototyping and manufacturing.
Last year, a startup called Carbon did something amazing — it launched the M1 3D printer. The M1 used UV light in a process called stereolithography to “grow” objects from a pool of photopolymer resin. That, in itself, wasn’t new. But Carbon’s CLIP (short for, continuous liquid interface production) technology allowed it to print in a steady stream rather than layer-by-layer, letting it churn out sophisticated objects up to 100 times faster than traditional stereolithography printers.
Today, Carbon is back with the new and improved M2, which features twice the build area as the M1, and the Smart Part Washer, a washing system that cleans resin from printed objects. The company is also launching SpeedCell, which enables multiple Carbon products to be connected for manufacturing at scale.
“The M2 was designed and made with manufacturers in mind,” Joseph DeSimone, co-founder and CEO of Carbon, told Digital Trends. “It’s larger build volume than the M1 allows our customers to produce more and/or larger parts than they could before, which speeds up the production process and makes CLIP technology scalable for a manufacturing environment.”
On top of that, DeSimone said the M2 will allow for sterilization of parts for use in fields like medical device manufacturing.
“The Smart Part Washer is a completely new product that offers improvements in post-processing by reducing labor costs, improving part quality, and allowing for solvent recovery for improved environmental stewardship,” he said.
SpeedCell will be available in two formats from launch: Design SpeedCell and Production SpeedCell. Design is geared towards designers and engineers for prototyping, and combines one M1 or M2 with a Smart Part Washer. Production is intended for industrial manufacturers and pairs multiple M2 printers with a Smart Part Washer.
“Over the last couple of years, we have been producing real parts at game-changing speeds using our CLIP technology,” DeSimone said. “What we’ve also realized is that engineers have been designing, and redesigning, their parts on the same fabrication tool that is also the production tool, and their product introduction cycles have then therefore been dramatically shortened because they are skipping prototyping and the tooling steps. There is a fundamental shift in the manufacturing process — traditionally it’s been design, prototype, tool, produce. When you think about 3D printing up to this point, everyone has been designing parts on a fabrication tool that doesn’t allow you to scale it up.”
In this sense, DeSimone said prototyping is a “dead end,” so they’ve developed SpeedCell to eliminate prototyping completely. “Hence are mantra is: Stop prototyping, start producing,” he said.
Following Carbon’s established model, the products will be available for yearly subscriptions of $40,000 for the M1, $50,000 for the M2, and $10,000 for the Smart Part Washer.