The V-Flash Machine Explained

In my ongoing exchange with Tom Meeks (see earlier post – reLink) there was a question regarding the actual method by which 3D Systems’ V-Flash rapid-prototyping machine built parts; something I’d previously been wondering (reLink).

Well, after doing some digging I found this in the Google cache for “” (Link):

Couple of notes on the V Flash. I had the pleasure of hearing Buddy Byrum talk to us about the machine, he is the Program Manager (I think) for V Flash. Todd Grimm and Mike Miller from Boeing in attendance at our session, lots of good questions asked.
Machine price is $9,900, no price yet on consumables.
Very simple, elegant design, few moving parts, 3D sees no need for a maintenance contract for the machine. Much of the mechanisms are included in the resin cartridge, consumables like lights easily replaceable.
The SLA like resin is introduced into the 6.75x9x8 (z) inch build chamber by a film that slides in and out of the cartridge, which holds 1.5 Kg of material. 3D calls this film transfer imaging. The resin is cured by white and UV light.
Parts are built on an injection molded platform that includes most of the supports. The parts are built hanging down from the platform, which is thrown away after the build process and part removal. The platform moves down into the resin on the film, and the layer is transferred from the film to the parts on the platform based on the depth the platform penetrated ( can do .002 -.004), using their proprietary imaging technique.
Machine can build at a rate of .6 to .75 cubic inches per hour, that may be able to increases to 1 cubic inch with tweaking. SLA machine like repeatability and accuracy. Pixel size .0088 in.
Parts emerge dry and fully cured, so support structures are stronger, smaller than SLA. The parts shown (two small parts) had really nice nice finishes. Buddy said side walls are not built vertical, so stepping much less than on SLA.
Seemed to have impressive software features, remote monitoring, software updates, auto queuing and nesting, etc.
Todd, please add and correct these comments!
Best regards, Bob Olsen

The more I think about it, the more this seems like a nice pseudo-hybrid between SLS, SLA, and what I was thinking might be a future 3D printer based on Silverbrook’s new inkjet technology (reLink). Think I’ll ask around about it.

{Update: Just a quick note to say I received a bulk email from 3D Systems that included a link to an explanation for how their machine works. Illustration included. It might be of additional interest, so take a peek – Link}

4 thoughts on “The V-Flash Machine Explained

  1. I am interested in the cost of material and MTBF. Sounds like they could be giving you the razor and generating all of their revenue from the blades as the saying goes. It would be a shame to for those folks that buy an inexpensive solution only to find out that they can’t afford to run it.

  2. As am I. But then don’t all of the RP manufacturers leverage their “custom” materials the same way? There seem to be precious few that don’t force customers into using material provided by the manufacturer.

  3. I can live with the ones that are around $2 a cubic inch for good parts. I refuse to pay $7-$13 though. I hope the schools in particular look at the overall cost so they don’t get stuck.

  4. I expect Tom will have info on Desktop Factory’s material relatively soon. No telling with Canon, though one might expect (projected) sales volume would help drive cost down. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

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