Metal 3D printer manufacturer VELO3D has announced the launch of its new Sapphire XC system. The large-format powder bed fusion machine features a cylindrical build volume of 600 x 550mm, significantly larger than the company’s debut Sapphire system (315 x 400 mm). As such, VELO3D has reported that the “extra capacity” will enable 5x the production throughput and a cost-per-part reduction of up to 75% when compared to its predecessor.
The company has also unveiled its new Sapphire Gen 2 package, a retrofittable software and hardware upgrade for the existing Sapphire system. VELO3D claims users can expect anywhere between a 10% – 50% improvement in both throughput and individual part costs. The upgrade, along with additional information such as the technical specifications, will be made available sometime in Q2 2021.
VELO3D’s Sapphire range
Originally launched in 2018, the Sapphire has been VELO3D’s flagship product for over two years. The system prides itself on its patented SupportFree process, enabling engineers to produce parts with large overhangs and wide inner diameters without supports.
The machine features a dual 1kW laser setup and is capable of fabricating production-grade titanium, inconel, and aluminum parts. The printer also houses a non-contact recoater to reduce the risk of part collision and in-situ metrology sensors to provide insight into the build quality of every layer in the part.
As proven by its client base, VELO3D’s customers are primarily in the aerospace and energy industries, where quality-assured, high-performance parts are a must. Benny Buller, founder and CEO of VELO3D, states: “Printing larger parts without the additive manufacturing constraints of support structures is highly attractive to many industrial end-users.”
The Sapphire XC
Riding on the back of its predecessor’s success, the XC uses the same optical-train design, recoater, gas flow, control system, and monitoring capabilities as the Sapphire. As a result, users can expect similar mechanical properties on their 3D printed parts. So far, a number of alloys have been qualified on the system, including aluminum F357, titanium 6AI-4V, inconel 718, and HASTELLOY X.
With a new beefed up printing engine, the machine has been kitted out with 8 x 1kW lasers, maximizing productivity on multi-part builds. The XC has also been fully integrated with the company’s proprietary Flow pre-print software and Assure quality control software. The former optimizes builds with minimal supports while the latter enables real-time process and quality monitoring via in-built sensors and optics.
Buller adds: “For the first time, customers will be able to 3D print uncompromised geometries, with the highest confidence in part quality, in a large format system. Quality assurance with large scale components is critical because the economic impact of failed builds is very significant. We have demonstrated that our integrated solution is capable of producing a greater yield of high-quality parts, and that foundational technology will transfer to our new Sapphire XC.”
Technical specifications and pricing
Below are the technical specifications for the Sapphire XC. The system is available to pre-order now, with deliveries beginning in Q4 2021. Readers interested in purchasing the machine should visit the VELO3D website for a quote.
|Build volume||600 x 550mm|
|Laser||8 x 1kW|
|Materials||IN718, Ti6Al4V, Al357, Hastelloy X|
|Throughput||Up to 400 cc/hr|
|Surface finish||5 – 15 µm Sa|
|Machine size||2.7 x 2.7 x 3.1m|
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Featured image shows the Sapphire XC. Image via VELO3D.