Since 2016, you may have looked at HP's line of industrial-grade Jet Fusion 3D Printers, which start at $120,000, and imagined a day when your business could afford a solution to quickly and cheaply print prototypes and production-ready engineering-grade parts. You may work with a lot of Fortune 500 companies, but you can't spend like them, so you're left with pangs of technology envy and a yearning for the far-away day when the ROI for your modest production volume makes sense.
Today HP announced today that the wait is over. A new array of compact Jet Fusion 3D printers, the 300/500 series, is about to hit the market at almost a third of the price of the advanced 3200/4200/4210 models, keeping the same Multi Jet Fusion technology. Those boast ten times the speed at half the cost of similar additive solutions.
In the process, one nozzle jets a fusing agent onto the material layer, followed by a detailing agent to create a finer, smoother resolution. A lamp blasts heat energy to selectively fuse the part and the excess powder can be reclaimed. The end result is a stronger, highly detailed part created in a "fraction of the time" of comparable fused deposition modeling (FDM) solutions.
They will be available in full color (580/380) or black and white (540/340).
The potential for opening up this level of voxel (3D pixel) control at this price point is intended to obliterate the technological barrier to innovation.
"HP is committed to democratizing 3D design and manufacturing, unleashing new possibilities for millions of innovators around the world," said Stephen Nigro, HP's president of 3D printing, HP. "No matter your industry, no matter your design complexity, no matter what colors fit your business needs—black, white or the full-color spectrum—the new HP Jet Fusion 300/500 series gives you the freedom to create brilliant new parts liberated from the constraints of traditional production methods."
This means research organizations, universities, small businesses, and startups now all have access to making high-quality components at their facilities, speeding up the innovation process.
“I'm excited about the range of applications for functional multi-color 3D printing,” said Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates Inc. “It's good to see that HP is targeting this interesting and largely untapped opportunity. The possibilities are infinite.”
HP also introduced a new material similar in mechanical properties to what's used in the original Multi-Jet machines called HP PA Color Boost (CB) 12. They are available to order now and are expected to be delivered in Q2 2018.
In short, now you have no need to feel envious, and every reason to feel excited about the possibilities.