Markforged recently announced the release of their new Industrial Composite Series, comprising the Markforged X3, X5 and X7 3D printers. These large-format 3D printers offer the strength required to replace costly machining processes, with significant cost savings available as a result.
If you missed our launch article, below we have provided additional insight into the X3 and X5 3D printers, which are available now within our online store.
With Onyx, you can 3D print jigs, jaws, tools and fixtures with the abrasion resistance of nylon and the strength of carbon fibre. The Markforged X3 has been engineered from the ground up to print this unique material, offering the speed, consistency and repeatability needed for demanding manufacturing and engineering environments.
In addition to Markforged’s all-familiar industrial-grade mechatronics, which are a standard feature in all their printers, the X3 has a built-in laser micrometer which automatically scans the print bed to generate a contour map of the print surface. That data is then combined with that generated by the printer’s other sensors, for unbeatable print accuracy.
The printer itself offers a 330 mm x 270 mm x 200 mm build volume and prints down to layer height of 50 μm. The shell and interior casing is made from aluminium for durability. A 4.3″ touchscreen comes as standard, and it runs Eiger, Markforged’s own 3D printing software. With automatic version control, real-time fleet management and cloud-based collaboration, Eiger is one of the best software platforms of its type on the market.
The Markforged X5 has the same build volume and print resolution as the X3, but adds a seriously important feature; the ability to reinforce parts with continuous strands of Fibreglass for superior strength.
On its own, Onyx is 20 per cent stronger and 40 per cent stiffer than ABS, but when it is reinforced with an additional composite, it can exceed the strength levels of 6061 aluminium. This means the X5 offers the capability to replace costly machining processes. Parts can be 20x stiffer and 30x stronger than typical 3D printed parts, for exceptional durability.
With active print calibration, courtesy of a built-in laser micrometer, as well as Markforged’s latest-generation motor encoders and kinematic bed coupling, the X5 has been designed from the ground up to deliver a consistent, repeatable 3D printing experience. It is the ideal industrial-grade 3D printer for demanding engineering and manufacturing environments.
As we have previously mentioned, the X5 has the same 330 mm x 270 mm x 200 mm build volume and 50 μm print resolution as the X3. By choosing the X5, you are buying into the ability to further reinforce parts with Fibreglass. If your parts require exceptional strength and durability of a level that goes beyond what Onyx offers, then we recommend considering the X5 for your workshop or manufacturing line to replace costly machining processes.
The Markforged X7 is the daddy of the Industrial Composite Series, offering the ability to print Onyx with Fibreglass, HSHT Fibreglass (high-strength, high-temp fibreglass), Carbon Fibre and Kevlar reinforcement.
Onyx parts reinforced with Carbon Fibre are stronger than 6061 aluminium and 40 per cent lighter. You can also work with Kevlar, which offers outstanding abrasion resistance and flexibility (perfect for grips). HSHT Fibreglass is twice as strong as regular Fibreglass, with a 30 per cent higher heat deflection temperature and a lower cost than Carbon Fibre.
If you require a 3D printer that can replace machined parts in a variety of different materials, the X7 is it. With the X7, you can 3D print assembly jigs, soft jaws, tools and welding fixtures at speed at minimal cost. Cost savings of up to 97 per cent are achievable with 3D printing versus machining, and you can directly replace expensive machined parts straight off the printer.
Consistency and repeatability are key for any industrial-grade 3D printer that claims to offer the ability to replace machining processes, and to that end the X7 certainly hits the spot. A strengthened dual-nozzle print system, Markforged’s latest-generation motor encoders and a built-in laser micrometer guarantee an outstanding 3D printing experience every time. We recommend the X7 for applications where several materials are required for machined part replacement.