nScrypt, a 3D printer and microdispensing system manufacturer based in Florida, has delivered its 3Dn-1000 multi-material Factory in a Tool (FiT) platform to the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal base in Alabama.
The FiT platform is capable of 3D printing, milling, polishing, pick and place, and post-processing in one tool for complete Printed Circuit Structure (PCS) devices.
“nScrypt is proud to work side by side with the Army to enable the warfighter. nScrypt has now delivered a total of 6 FiT systems to multiple Army bases and labs. This 1-meter tool continues to add fast, precision Direct Digital Manufacturing capabilities inside the DoD,” said Ken Church CEO of nScrypt.
The Factory in a Tool platform
FiT is described as a system that, “digitally fabricates anything from 2D and 3D printed circuit structures (PCS) to biological structures and can be used almost anywhere on the digital manufacturing floor.”
The platform has 1 full meter of travel in the XY axis at a speed of up to 1 mps and can run 5 tool heads simultaneously, on a high-precision linear motion gantry. The tool heads can print materials including composites and continuous carbon fiber and features a hopper that can be used to extend the material palette.
Furthermore, the tool heads are monitored by multiple cameras for automated inspection and computer vision routines. A point laser height sensor for Z-tracking and mapping is also included for conformal printing onto objects of various surface shapes. In addition, the total machine dimensions of the FiT system measure at 7’5”x7’4”x6’9”, weighing approximately 12,000lbs (6 tons).
“This system provides up to a meter of printing in X and Y directions while maintaining precision; this will touch many DoD products,” explained Lance Hall, a mechanical engineer from the U. S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC).
The U.S. Army and additive manufacturing
The U.S Army has integrated additive manufacturing technologies into various operations to save costs and time. Recognizing its importance, the proposed U.S. military budget for 2018 includes support for an increased use of 3D printing.
The proposed bill highlights that the “significant possibilities that additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, will provide to the Department of Defense, both in revolutionizing the industrial supply chain, as well as in providing radically new technological capabilities.”
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Featured image shows the 3Dn-1000 machine during final inspection before shipping. Photo via nScrypt.