Velo3D Aims Large for 3D Printing

Sapphire XC 1 MZ enables large-format metal 3D printing up to one meter in height.

Sapphire XC 1 MZ enables large-format metal 3D printing up to one meter in height.

The Sapphire XC 1MZ offers a total build volume that is twice that of the Sapphire XC. Image Courtesy of Velo3D

As metal 3D printing gains ground for production-grade applications in aerospace, energy, and defense applications, customers are calling for large-scale AM solutions that can accommodate larger and more sophisticated parts.

Velo3D’s answer is the Sapphire XC 1 MZ, the latest and largest edition to its metal 3D printer line. With a cylindrical 600mm diameter by 1000mm build volume, Velo3D claims the new model is the largest available from any laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) printer manufacturer. The new solution also encompasses print preparation and quality monitoring and control software, allowing it function as a highly-integrated, end-to-end production system. The innovations make large-format 3D printing a reality for new applications, including detailed and complex turbomachinery and higher precision parts.

The Sapphire XC 1MZ printer enables printed parts of up to one meter in height with a total build volume that’s nearly twice that of its sibling, the Sapphire XC model, and nearly nine times larger than the original Sapphire. This increased stature opens the door to new applications and use cases for metal AM. In fact, adoption of production-grade metal AM printing is on the rise, driven by the increased design freedom, an ability to output complex geometric parts, and give companies better control over their supply chains—a significant benefit given the parts shortage challenges brought on by the global pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war.

Lux Research is projecting the value of AM parts to rise at a 15% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), surging from a $12 billion market in 2020 to $51 billion in 2030. A report from Technavio predicts the metal AM material market will also quadruple by 2025, with an increase of $7.19 billion over the next three years.

The Sapphire XC 1MZ was designed with eight 1kW lasers to ensure faster printing at scale. The platform features a proprietary non-contact recoater designed to eliminate the risk of part collision, protecting the build while enabling thinner walls and greater accuracy, Velo3D officials said. The recoater helps increase throughput by up to 400%, officials claim, while decreasing the time required between build layers. The result is faster industrial-grade printing at scale with lower overall production costs, officials claim.

Like other 3D printers in the Velo3D line, the XC 1MZ supports the Intelligent Fusion underlying manufacturing process that facilitates all aspects of the end-to-end 3D printing process. This process includes access to the Flow print preparation software used to establish the manufacturing process and ensure repeatability via feature-based process libraries that eliminate the need to develop new part-specific parameter sets. The Assure quality control software delivers in-situ monitoring and visibility into every layer of the build through real-time sensors, algorithms, and optical measurements.

Watch this video to learn more about the Sapphire XC 1MZ.

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Beth Stackpole's avatar
Beth Stackpole

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

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