In 2014, the biggest brains in 3D printing, from the inventor of 3D CAD software to the developer of inkjet 3D printing, stealthily joined forces to create a company whose goal was to break industrial 3D printers out of the lab and make them safe and easy enough to use in an office.
This week, that Boston startup, Rize Inc., the additive manufacturing dream team has emerged from the shadows to unveil its new desktop industrial printer, the Rize One (starts at $19,000).
It eliminates nearly every pet peeve youve ever had about industrial 3D printing. Post-processing time? Gone. Weak material? Not anymore. Complex software? Simplified.
The 21.4 x 36 25.4 in. printer uses a patented Augmented Polymer Deposition process and game-changing material, Rizium One, that have been shown to cut overall turnaround time by 50%.
We asked Frank Marangell, President and CEO of Rize and former president of Objet North America, to tell us why this is the finally the 3D printer youve been waiting for.
NED: How did the team get together?
Frank Marangell: CTO and founder Eugene Giller, who developed the material for Google Glasses came up with the idea to solve the limitations in 3d printers and thought there has to be a better way. He tested his patented material, which has a mechanical strength that is twice that of materials used on FDM systems, enough to convince many of us it was a good idea. He connected with Leonid Raiz, the architect of Pro/Engineer 3DCAD software.
They were looking for a CEO, and I just left Stratasys after the merger. I said Sign me up! I knew this thing was going to be significant in the industry.
After an Investor presentation, we got funded in late 2014 (by Longworth Venture Partners and SB Capital with $4M in seed funding.)
NED: So why is this going to be so significant?
FM: Its an industrial printer, with a build area of 12 x 8 x 6 in., or 300 x 200 x150 mm, made to run 24/7 that competes with larger $100,000 printers. The print takes the same time, but the post processing can take mere seconds. Our patented technology and materials allow us to change mechanical properties of the thermoplastic, voxel by voxel (3D pixel). That gives us the ability to jet a release layer, normally at 300 dpi, that separates the support from the model. The support material would normally lock to it, but because of our secondary process, which puts down a layer of Release One material between the support and layer above so it cant attach to it, were able to pop off the support material without any post processing, and doesnt create any marks on it, and no filing or sanding is needed.
Even on models with complex geometries, Rize One affords zero post-processing.
NED: How much time does post-processing really consume though?
FM: One of our beta customers, Reebok, which made everything from shoelaces to lacrosse heads, found that by eliminating post-processing, you could save on average 50% production time. Thats if youre working 24/7. It could be youre missing a shift because of post-processing and that costs you 24 hours. We have that example ourselves. With print jobs that could take 6 to 8 hours, wed print overnight using another technology prior to our printer was ready to use, and want to use it right away the next day, but it needs 8 hours in soluble support tank. If were not careful we could miss the days shift for use later that night and have to wait until the next morning.
Our technology saves that entire day of work and makes production quality parts.
Reebok told us the lack of labor in post-processing labor could pay for this in less than a year. That doesnt even include the time to get the designs out earlier and post-processing materials needed with other systems. Better design integration is very hard to put a dollar amount on, but everybodys striving for it.
NED: What other features stand out?
We have from a filament standpoint, spots for two cartridges. Each has a tool at the end and the spool just plugs right in and is automatically fed into machine. When the first one empties, it swaps over to the next cartridge automatically. It was one of my requirements. It was always a pet peeve of mine that you dont know if you have enough material to complete build. You get of the way through a build and run out.
NED: Short of giving us the recipe, what can you tell us about your patented material, Rizium One?
FM: The thermoplastic strength in z-axis creates a bond that is almost equal to the x and y. The recipe gives us something above 60 mega pascals in x, y, and z in strength. And it has high Heat Deflection temperature (HDT) strength. Its comparable to polycarbonate. Compared to 3D Systems SLA or Stratasys ABSplus, its less than half the price. Those are about $260/kg; were going to be less than $100/kg.
And its made of eco-friendly material. It doesnt give off any volatiles when extruding. ABS gives off styrene, PLA gives off lactide. Its safer than whats on 2D printers today. It makes the Rize One the first non-toxic 3D printer that is safe for the office environment.
The non-toxic Rizium One material "breaks the chains of the 3D printing lab," making the industrial printer safe for the office.
NED: When will Rize One be available?
FM: We have beta machines ready. Were going to start at Reebok, and move on from there with other well-known names a couple hours drive from our office. Its more an early adopter system than true beta. Were taking orders in Q4, and theyll get them Q1. The machine is self-installed and is designed to run and run and run and not need a service package. Service package will be available, though.
The first release will be grey-scale, but it has the ability to print in full-color, which will be available in the next upgrade. The carriage to hold the heads is already in place. Then you can get into spare parts replacement.
Rize One 3D prints of high definition text and images "anywhere, anytime." Full color should be available in a future hardware and software patch.
NED: What industries will benefit most?
FM: The skys the limit where you can use it. Most 3D printers are known for form and fit, but not function. With ours, because of the Z strength, youre able to get the function. You can produce handlebar on bicycle, any mechanical gear structure, all mechanical parts .
An auto mechanic could produce custom parts on-demand without worrying about the complexity of software or the post-processing nightmare. A doctors office can model CAT scan data, or surgical tools to explain surgery to patient or to help with procedure. These are made today, but made in labs far away from the user.
For more information on the Rize One, please visit www.rize3d.com/