The 3D Systems ProJet 5500X

3D Printing Expert

Posted on April 28 2015

To many, the 3D Systems’ ProJet 5500X looks like any other professional 3D printer, a large gray box with who knows what going on inside. But take a closer look and you will find a unique process that can do something no other 3D printers can do. projet-5500-x-3d-printer-angle Based on 3D Systems’ latest MultiJet Printing (MJP) technology, this printer can deliver accurate, high-quality multi-material composites by fusing flexible and rigid materials layer by layer at the pixel level. What this means is you can print a combination of plastic and rubber-like parts in one print. And not just one combination but up to 14 different combinations in one print. Check this out…
The race car at the end of that video was printed with 100% rigid plastic for the body, 100% rubber for the wheels and a 50/50 mix of plastic and rubber for the front fin and back wing… all in the same print. So if your product has living hinges you can print them to last. If you’re designing a new drill with a plastic shell and rubber handles, you can print the prototype just like it and check not just fit and function but feel as well. With the addition of two new elastomeric materials, Black VisiJet (VisiJet® CE-BK) and Natural Translucent VisiJet (VisiJet® CE-NT), the emphasis is really on flexible versus rigid. How flexible can it print? Both materials exhibit incredible toughness and tear resistance with an elongation to break of up to 700%. Parts can be stretched, twisted, mashed and otherwise handled to withstand incredibly challenging applications without failure. artie blog image 3 Combining the base materials into composites with varying strength and color adds considerable new material options. Engineers and designers seeking to create integrated components, such as pipes and gaskets, bolts or washers, will be able to design for a minimal part count and maximum functionality. The ability to 3D print functional rigid plastic components pre-fused with flexible elastomeric features is advancing the revolution in product design and testing. Mechanical properties of the new elastomers range from a shore A value starting at 30 and rise in increments of 10, allowing for precise selection of properties to fit specific application requirements. Using VisiJet® Composite materials, the ProJet 5500X offers more than one hundred material variations to precisely match your specifications. artie blog image 5artie blog image 10

The ProJet 5500X with a Build Area of 20.39” x 14.99” x 11.59” (517.78mm x 380.75mm x 294.39 mm) is excellent for:

Overmolded parts

Multi-material assemblies

Rubber-like components

Long-lasting living hinges

High-temperature testing

Case Study - The ProJet 5500X and Derby the Dogartie blog image 6

With the help of her colleagues, 3DS designers, Kevin Atkins and Dave DiPinto, and ABC Certified Orthotist at Animal Ortho Care, Derrick Campana, the team scanned Derby's forearms and created 3D design of unique prostheses for Derby. They utilized Geomagic Freeform, 3DS' digital sculpting platform, which allowed them to create perfect organic shapes and smooth curves for Derby's shape. A few different iterations were experimented with until the birth of the "elbow cups". ProJet 5500X software "The great thing about using 3D technology in Derby's case is having these images on file on a computer, and being able to print them. It is a lot quicker than having to hand sculpt every single mold and rebuild these braces five to ten times," explained Campana. Tara and the designers used the ProJet 5500X 3D printer, which delivers multi-material 3D printing in a single build, to print complete prosthetics with comfortable cups in rubber and rigid spokes and base. Ready in a few hours, the prosthetics were shipped to Derby for testing. Products made with ProJet 5500X "The beauty of 3D printing is that if the design needs to be adjusted, we don't have to wait for time-consuming and expensive traditional manufacturing processes, we can simply print out a new set," said Buddy Byrum, Vice President of Product and Channel Management, 3DS. "The dovetailing of 3D scanning and design with the ProJet 5500X multi-material 3D printing allowed for the creation of complete prosthetics printed in a single build, custom-fit to Derby."

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