3D printing startup Axtra3D has shared insights on its inception and 3D printing journey. Established in 2021 by Gianni Zitelli and Praveen Turnmala, the company aims to improve the 3D printing sector.
With its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and an R&D and Innovation facility in Vicenza, Italy, Axtra3D is on a mission to eliminate the longstanding trade-offs between Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP) technologies, “ushering in a new era” of high-resolution, injection mold surface quality, and production speed. The company’s Hybrid PhotoSynthesis (HPS) technology and TruLayer technology stand at the forefront of Axtra3D’s portfolio “promising to redefine the future of 3D printing.”
Axtra3D says it aims to benefit consumer goods, packaging, industrial (including aero, auto, and defence,) and dental verticals and will see value from its technology innovation. Companies in these sectors are constantly pushing additive manufacturing forward into production. The combination of speed, accuracy, repeatability, fine resolution, and unmatched surface quality gives these companies a new tool that can support their innovation as they traverse into true production applications, says the company.
“We’re able to eliminate the standard wait times and only wait as long as we need to wait, because we actually have live feedback from those sensors. When we turn that technology on, we started seeing that we’re about double the speed of some of our competitors in the space,” said Paul Spoliansky, CRO at Axtra3D.
Axtra3D’s new Hybrid PhotoSynthesis and TruLayer technology
Axtra3D explained how its HPS technology works. HPS merges DLP (image generator) with SLA (laser) in a single co-axial system, synchronising the light sources to work at the same wavelength and image plane planarity. The image generator cures the bulk cross-section (“Flash Hatching”), while the laser shapes the borders, ensuring superior surface quality, accuracy, and 50-micron resolution across the build platform.
Notably, Hybrid PhotoSynthesis is scalable to larger platforms for photochemistry and thermoplastic processing. Axtra3D developed this technology to harness the benefits of both the laser and image generator simultaneously, guaranteeing unparalleled print speed, quality, and accuracy.
“Light engine innovation/improvement is rather rare in our industry. With Hybrid PhotoSynthesis, we can also offer an increased build area without the reduction in resolution associated with DLP solutions,” says Axtra3D.
Additionally, the company has also developed “TruLayer Technology.” This technology involves the integration of three sensors beneath the 3D printer’s membrane. This integration serves to eliminate unnecessary delays between layers during the 3D printing process. Consequently, the printing speed sees a two-fold increase compared to other options, while still maintaining a high level of precision. This technology also enables a more efficient detachment of the active print layer from the vat membrane, allowing for greater flexibility in the size and volume of printed cross-sections.
Additionally, this technology boasts a vat membrane known for its durability, contributing to its extended lifespan. Moreover, it enables the seamless 3D printing of highly viscous resins, expanding the range of materials that can be used with this technology.
Axtra3D believes that most applications would see benefits from HPS. That said, the company views some specific applications as “low hanging fruit,” which include injection mold tooling, IM tooling inserts, blow molding, direct print electrical connectors for end use, prototyping, and dental applications such as ortho models, prosthodontics, and direct print dentures.
Intelli-Cartridge: A novel system for simplifying and automating 3D printing
Axtra3D has introduced a novel system called the “Intelli-Cartridge.” This system is designed to simplify and automate the 3D printing process, particularly in larger printing jobs and production runs. The Intelli-Cartridge manages the resin used in the 3D printer by dispensing the material into the vat and collecting any excess. It performs various functions, including stirring, heating, and filtering. With the implementation of this system, the 3D printing capacity increases to a total of 8 litres of resin.
One of the key advantages of the Intelli-Cartridge is that it eliminates the need for manual resin top-ups during the process. Additionally, it minimises waste by extracting excess resin, filtering it, and returning it to the cartridge. The system incorporates a feature for automatically mixing the resin, ensuring consistent material distribution in each layer of the print. Moreover, infrared heaters are used to regulate the material’s temperature.
Introducing the Lumia X1 3D printer
Axtra3D has introduced the Lumia X1 3D printer, equipped with Hybrid Photosynthesis and TruLayer Technology. This novel combination delivers unmatched accuracy, speed, surface quality, and printability in a single solution. The system is built to industrial standards, ensuring a working life of over 10 years. Safety features, including ventilation, magnetic interlock system, UV-shielded viewing window, and Emergency Stop button, prioritise user well-being.
The Lumia X1 boasts key elements like the Intelli-cartridge, Double Z-Axis, Integrated 4k chamber camera, Large graphic user interface, and online/offline modes. This integration optimises the advantages of laser and image generator technologies, guaranteeing high-level print speed, quality, and accuracy.
“Axtra3D is striving to demonstrate each of the values that our technology provides. From the value of surface quality to the value of repeatability, we are in the process of providing full demonstrations of how these values come together to allow new, limitless creations,” highlights the company.
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Featured image shows electrical connectors (for end use) created using Evonik ST6100L material. Image via Axtra3D.