MakerBot Launches Carbon Fiber Edition of METHOD X

New materials and specially-designed extruder allow for printing of carbon fiber reinforced nylon optimized for high strength and heat resistance.

New materials and specially-designed extruder allow for printing of carbon fiber reinforced nylon optimized for high strength and heat resistance.

METHOD Carbon Fiber edition couples new composite extruder and materials for production of high-strength replacement parts. Image Courtesy of MakerBot

As part of its mission to deliver true industrial-grade 3D printing to the masses, MakerBot has released a modified version of its METHOD printers that comes pre-configured with a new composite extruder capable of printing carbon fiber reinforced nylon primed for production of high-strength parts.

The new METHOD Carbon Fiber Editions, built on the METHOD and METHOD X platforms, come with a specially designed extruder that has been optimized to handle abrasive materials like reinforced nylon. The new design sports hardened metal drive gears, a metal filament switch, and an interchangeable hardened steel nozzle to it can print the lightweight material without degrading due to wear and tear.

MakerBot sees the new carbon fiber 3D printers having significant impact for companies looking for a robust and more efficient way to produce manufacturing jigs and fixtures. They also see the technology, including the expansion into new materials like carbon fiber nylon, as opening up possibilities for customers across industries to reproduce high performance replacement parts.

“This year, it’s about expanding the capabilities and adding new materials,” says Johan-Till Broer, MakerBot’s vice president of product development. “There’s a big need among our customer base to have access to more materials that allow them to expand what they can do with the 3D printer.”

What the METHOD Carbon Fiber options allow is for companies to more easily and cost-effectively create lightweight alternatives to metal structures like vehicular brackets and inspection gauges, Broer says. The material is also a fit for producing manufacturing tools like robotic end effectors as well as for under-hood and tooling applications. Its high strength, heat resistance, and stiffness properties are what make it ideal for printing such replacement parts, Broer adds.

The METHOD Carbon Fiber Editions are available now; existing METHOD printers are also backward compatible and can be retrofit to work with the new carbon fiber materials via a replacement extruder that sells for $349.

When the METHOD was launched last year, it came to market with three materials—today, Broer says there are 17 materials available, some developed by the company and others through its open materials platform that encourages other filament suppliers to release METHOD-certified options.

Watch this video to learn more about the METHOD Carbon Fiber edition.

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Beth Stackpole

Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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