The Anisoprint Composer A3 is a professional 3D printer with a new and patented composite extrusion technology (CFC). It produces printed objects that are more resilient, lighter and less expensive than comparable workpieces made of metal, plastic or non-optimized composites.
CFC technology (Composite Fiber Coextrusion or “Anisoprinting”) uses a modified FFF printing process to produce particularly stable fiber-reinforced composite structures. Common FFF printers achieve fiber reinforcement with so-called “filled” filaments. These materials consist of thermoplastic carrier materials to which the reinforcing material is added in the form of short fibers. In the CFC technology developed by Anisoprint, the reinforcing material is introduced into the printed object as continuous fibers and can therefore be much longer. At most, the fibers can even be as long as the object and therefore produce much more extreme physical and mechanical properties than fibers in the micrometer range.
The components produced are:
- Up to 30 times stronger than plastic
- Up to 7 times lighter than steel
- Up to 2 times stronger and lighter than aluminum
Fiber co-extrusion and open filament system
The print head has two nozzles and three material inputs. (Of these, none is material for washout support structures.) The printhead can be divided into two extruders.
The “Plastic Extruder” (white in the illustration) is used to print the outer shell of the object. When choosing this filament, you are not bound to one manufacturer. Work with the materials you already know and use in your production. Any 1.75 mm filaments can be used, printed with a processing temperature up to 270°C (e.g. PETG, ABS, PC, PLA, nylon, etc.). It is even possible to use fiber-filled thermoplastics. For very stable objects with particularly smooth surfaces, Polymaker has developed Smooth PA for Anisoprint. If you print without fiber reinforcement, you can use the Composer with this nozzle like an ordinary FFF printer.
The composite extruder (orange in the figure) prints the composite material, so it has two inputs: one for the continuous fiber and one for the carrier or matrix material. For the matrix material, you also have a manufacturer-independent choice of FDM plastics up to 270°C printing temperature. A good option is CFC PA, which was specially developed by Polymaker. Two materials are available as continuous fiber material: Carbon-based CFF and basalt-based CBF. Both consist of a strand of thousands of long ultra-thin carbon or basalt fibers impregnated with a carrier polymer. They are currently only available from Anisoprint.
This schematic view shows only the composite extruder with the two FIlamente inlets and the composite nozzle. In the so-called melting chamber, both filaments combine before they are printed from the common nozzle.
Strength and stiffness of the composite lie along the fiber, which is why grids consisting of one-dimensional ribs are the optimal shape for composites. This process gives maximum strength with minimum material usage, i.e. minimum weight, minimum production time and minimum price of the component. The process is single-step and does not require post-curing or post-processing with tooling.
Slicing Software Aura
The slicing software Aura is free of charge and is installed locally on your computer. In industrial environments, this is often beneficial, as cloud-based solutions can be problematic due to security restrictions.
With Aura, you have access to a comprehensive parameter selection. Slicer helps you set up the printing process and settings for all materials. You can adjust the amount of fiber, the reinforcement pattern, and even open and edit the g-code. When you slice with Aura, the composite prints the stabilizing structures inside the object, letting you specify the fill pattern, density and orientation. With special plug-ins, you even have detailed access to each fiber path, allowing you to determine even more precisely where and in which direction your object should be reinforced. Prepared in this way, you can also print using only the composite extruder.
For more detailed information on the design options, see this “>video. You can download and test the Aura software and further information here in advance.
Structure of the printer
The footprint of the printer is 297 x 210 mm (DIN A4) and it is 140 mm high. The glass print bed can be heated up to 60°C and is removable. The printer processes 1.75-mm filaments and prints with 0.4-mm nozzles at a resolution of 60 microns. A cutter sits at the continuous filament feed.
Control is via an LCD touch display.
The Composer is available in two identical versions, differing only in size. The dimensions of the base area correspond to DIN A4 and DIN A3 respectively. Link to the Composer A4.