HP is no stranger to innovation, despite setbacks like the company’s poorly received entry models into the tablet sector. When it comes to printing technology, few other manufacturers hold a candle to what HP can do, and for good reason.
A significant portion of the company was originally based on printing, and they’ve remained true to that mission.
For years now, HP has eyed the world of 3D printing with the goal of improving things, and it looks like they might be able to do that in a big way when their Multi-Jet-Fusion-driven printer finally becomes a reality.
What Will HP’s 3D Printer Bring to the Table?
Simply put, HP claims that the Multi Jet Fusion technology will power the world’s fastest and most capable 3D printer. It will use a combination of powdered printer material, jettable material and chemicals to produce detailed 3D objects from arts and crafts projects to usable tools like scissors, and even complete three-dimensional architectural models.
HP claims that their proprietary technology makes this printer 10x faster than conventional models, and a look under the hood might convince you those claims are more than just hot air.
You’ll find 30 individual nozzles hard at work inside the HP’s new printer, each capable of applying something different to the mix. It all begins pretty normally – the printer lays down a thin layer of powder on the build area. Then, things get a little different. The thermal jet array moves left to right over the powder applying chemicals to the mix.
Different chemicals are used for different purposes, and the printer is even capable of applying one chemical to specific sections and others to the rest of the build. This allows designers to create products with different edge qualities (sharp, pointed, dull, smooth, rounded, etc).
Like with conventional printers, the printing process moves layer by layer, gradually building up the finished three-dimensional object. Unlike conventional printers, the Multi Jet Fusion technology does it in one-tenth the time.
You’ll find it’s capable of printing 350 million drops per second, at 21-micron precision. This enables significant gains in terms of texture and finesse, and HP hopes to bring a host of new color-printing capabilities to the table as well.
When asked about the decision to create this particular printer, Senior Vice President Stephen Nigro replied, “We saw a great deal of potential, but also major gaps in the combination of speed, quality and cost.
HP Multi Jet Fusion technology is designed to transform manufacturing across industry by delivering on the full potential of 3D printing with better quality, increased productivity and break-through economics.”
Don’t rush out just yet. The printer isn’t set to debut until sometime in 2016. What’s more, HP hasn’t yet announced anticipated pricing for their new printer, so it’s anyone’s guess just what all that innovation and technology will cost the end consumer (if it will be released as consumer-facing product, rather than one for businesses only).