Inkbit, a 2017 spin-out from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), announced the launch of its first commercial 3D printer.
The multi-material blasting system called Inkbit Vista works with the vision-controlled jetting technology developed by MIT and uses 3D image processing and AI for control functions. Vista is designed for the workshop and is aimed at manufacturers looking for both rapid prototyping and end-use production, and suitable for applications in multi-material robotics, dental, automotive and even product packaging.
Davide Marini, Co-Founder and CEO of Inkbit, said, “We are excited to bring Inkbit’s additive manufacturing system to market and offer a unique, fast-paced 3D printing solution to companies looking to adopt digital manufacturing.”
The Inkbit Vista 3D printer. Photo via Inkbit.
Vision-Controlled Jetting with Inkbit
The key to the novelty of VCJ lies in its vision-based feedback control system. The technology continuously captures 3D scan data at the voxel level of the printing process and allows it to change any level during the printing process. As such, it provides users with real-time, in-situ control to ensure high performance components and reliability in high volume production. The process developed at MIT’s CSAIL is patented and licensed exclusively for Inkbit.
Since its inception in 2017, the company has raised approximately $ 15 million in funding from a variety of investors including Stratasys, DSM Venturing, Ocado, and 3M. Organizations such as DARPA and NSF have also allocated significant resources for the development of the technology and subsequent applications in the medical field.
In addition to providing capital, some Inkbit partners want to integrate VCJ into their own business operations. Tim Steiner, CEO and Executive Director of the Ocado Group, explains: “Inkbit has developed a proprietary 3D image processing system. We are working very closely with Inkbit on some of our own future developments where they will enable some really fantastic transformational advances. “
A production facility for Inkbit Vista. Photo via Inkbit.
Inkbit Vista is characterized by a large-format build volume of 500 x 250 x 200 mm and offers an impressive build rate of up to 2.75 l per hour. The inkjet printheads can print parts with an accuracy of tens of microns and are based on a modular architecture that makes it easy to repair and upgrade components if necessary.
Vista is compatible with a wide variety of sprayable photopolymer inks and allows any number of soft, rigid, tough, and chemically resistant combinations in parts of multiple materials. The machine is equipped with four material slots (expandable to eight), three of which are used for engineering materials and the fourth contains a non-hazardous fusible wax carrier material. Vista integrates with existing manufacturing systems and offers automated loading and post-processing of construction panels, reducing the cost per part through end-to-end automation.
Marini summarizes, “Nowadays engineers often use 3D printing technology to make prototypes, but material constraints and high costs make it difficult to manufacture end products. At Inkbit, we are on a mission to destroy that thought and develop a technology that provides fast printing capabilities with unmatched design freedom and reliability for even the most demanding applications and environments. “
The Vista has four material slots for multi-material parts. Photo via Inkbit.
Technical data and prices
Below are the technical specifications for Inkbit Vista. The system can now be pre-ordered. Readers interested in purchasing the device should seek a quote on the Inkbit website.
|Printing press||Vision-controlled jetting|
|Create volume||500 x 250 x 200 mm|
|resolution||32 x 63.5 x 18 microns (adaptive)|
|Vertical build rate||Up to 15 mm / hour|
|Dissolution of the vision system||32 x 32 x 20 microns|
|Dimensions||2.8 x 1.5 x 2.4 m|
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The picture shown shows the Inkbit Vista 3D printer. Photo via Inkbit.