Collider has introduced everyday off-the-shelf manufacturing materials to 3D printing with the Orchid 3D Printer.
Orchid makes use of the print-and-fill technique to make parts by 3D printing a mold for the intended part and injecting it with relevant material.
This articles discusses Collider’s flagship product, Orchid, which uses 3D printing and programmable tooling technology to manufacture parts.
Collider Orchid – In-depth
(W x D)
(H x W x D)
|Orchid||31″ x 34″||14″ x 12″ x 8″|
Orchid has a footprint of 31″ x 34″ and a build area of 14″ x 12″ x 8″. In other words, It has a build volume of 1344 in3 or 5.81gal.
It has a tower-type design and has a height of about 71″ (6′).
Collider’s Orchid can work on materials like rubber, silicone, plastic, and metals.
Orchid prints at a vertical target speed of 36 cm/hr, and its XY resolution is 150 μm.
A lower resolution value gives prints with high levels of detail, and with higher values, the prints may have visible print lines.
Orchid has an extensive catalog with over hundreds of materials. Some of the supported varieties of materials are:
|General Purpose Rigid Polyurethane (Shore 65D)|
|Medium Softness Silicone (Shore 25A)|
|Firm Urethane Rubber (Shore 60A)|
|Flame Retardant Polyurethane (Shore 73D)|
|316L Stainless Steel|
The current methods for making production parts are injection molding and 3D printing.
Injection molding is slow and time-consuming, while 3D printing is comparatively faster, but it compromises on building strong parts.
Shifting away from these contemporary methods, Orchid processes materials in a different setup called “Programmable Tooling”.
First, Orchid uses continuous DLP (Digital Light Processing) to print a hollow shell. As a result, the designed mold shell is entirely smooth with no visible print lines.
Once the shell is ready, Orchid then injects the shell with an off-the-shelf manufacturing material that chemically converts into a solid part.
After the build cycle is complete, you can remove the build platform from the machine and dunk it in hot water, and the shell material will dissolve away.
All these processes can be completed in a time frame of hours.
Controller and Electronics
Orchid has a standard 110V/AC input power rating, so you can plug it into regular wall outlets.
At the front part of the machine, there is a touchscreen that you can use to handle some of the major functions of the machine.
It has connectivity features like USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SD card, and ethernet, which you can use to connect to a computer or import a design file.
The software part of Collider is pretty simple. You can access Collider’s proprietary software through a web browser.
You do not need to have an internet connection for running the software, and the software can be accessed using the machine’s IP address.
Since it is not connected to any external server, you don’t have to worry about your designs getting into the wrong hands. Every design you use will stay within the Orchid machine and your computer.
Once you upload the design file, the Collider’s software takes over to design a mold for the part.
For the CAD phase, you can use any 3D design software like unity, blender, etc., to export files in STL format, which Orchid accepts. It is also a standard industrial-level three-dimensional design format.
3D printing mold and then injecting it with the desired material from a single machine was the world’s first endeavor, and Collider succeeded in doing it.
It dramatically increases the customizability of parts and reduces the production cost by about 80%.
Orchid’s technology is quite promising for making custom prosthetics by going away from the one-size-fits-all technique that most prosthetic manufacturers follow.
The custom mold-and-print technique of Orchid is also faster than other such techniques, which usually takes days to prepare a mold and then finally make the part.
Collider was acquired by Essentium, a US-based 3D printer manufacturer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is injection molding?
Injection molding is a manufacturing technique used to produce parts in large quantities. It uses a mold of a specific shape depending on the part to be made, then materials in its molten form are injected into the mold to fill all the space tightly and make out the inside shape of the mold.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that produces parts by continuously printing materials layer-by-layer to reach a three-dimensional shape.
What is DLP in 3D printing?
DLP or Digital Light Processing in 3D printing is used to produce photopolymer parts at a faster rate. It uses a light source to treat the whole layer in a single go. It is a type of vat polymerization which uses a combination of resin and light to build parts.