Stratasys Connex 3D Printers
Who is Stratasys?
Stratasys was founded in 1989, by S. Scott Crump and his wife Lisa Crump in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Crump thought of creating shapes layer by layer and of a way to automate the process. In April 1992, Stratasys sold its first product, the 3D Modeler. Crump patented fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology and in 2003, FDM was the best-selling rapid prototyping technology.
On April 16, 2012, Stratasys announced that it agreed to merge with privately held Objet Ltd., a leading manufacturer of 3D printers based in Rehovot, Israel. The market capitalization of the new company was approximately $3.0 billion.
What is a Connex Printer?
As a result of the merger, Stratasys became the manufacturer of two 3D printing technologies; Objet and FDM. The Connex system was the first 3D printer in the world to simultaneously 3D print multiple colors and materials and it uses the Objet technology. With Objet, liquid material deposits on the tray and is cured with UV light. A support material is used as a base to print on and is manually removed upon completion of the print. There are two methods to remove support material, either with high pressure water or dissolved away for delicate parts. Due to the use of liquid material, the Objet technology enables the Connex to print in both plastic and rubber materials at a high resolution. A Connex enables you to create parts with the precision, look and feel of real production parts.
What material choices?
As mentioned previously, the Connex can print in solid plastic and rubber as well as a plastic that is certified bio compatible for use in medical and dental industries. In total, there are 8 different plastic materials of varying color, 5 material options for rubber, transparent plastic, bio-compatible plastic, high temperature, and simulated polypropylene. This list of materials is just the beginning when it comes to material variety. The Connex has a pair of print heads reserved for a special use, mixing materials to form new materials. Using these print heads, the Connex can print in a wide spectrum of colors and shore strengths (for rubbers) providing over 1000 material choices. The pictures below show some examples of parts printed on a Connex.
What accuracy and resolution does a Connex hold?
A Connex printer can print at a resolution of 600 DPI by 600 DPI in the horizontal plane and at 1600 DPI in the vertical plane. For comparison, a standard (two dimensional) laser printer’s resolution starts at 600 DPI and can reach as high as 2400 DPI. The Connex printer is within the same range of resolution as a laser printer. Allowing for a high level of detail as shown in the images below.
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