Editor’s Pick: Advanced Composite Additive Manufacturing

Impossible Objects CBAM 25 uses high-performance composite materials.

Impossible Objects CBAM 25 uses high-performance composite materials.

The Impossible Objects CBAM 25 brings 3D printing to volume manufacturing, boosting 3D printing speeds while using advanced composite materials. Image courtesy of Impossible Objects.

Impossible Objects introduces the CBAM 25, which it describes as a composite 3D printer 15 times faster than comparable technologies now on the market. The CBAM 25—an abbreviation of composite based additive manufacturing—is rated by the company to run at 25 feet per minute. It also claims “better dimensional accuracy than any technology on the market.” 

“This is a Moore’s law moment,” claims Robert Swartz, founder and chairman of Impossible Objects. “We are entering a new era of 3D printing with nearly unlimited material options at the speed of true mass production.” 

The CBAM uses high-performance composite materials, including its own Carbon Fiber PEEK. The company says this allows the CBAM 25 to produce parts with better strength-to-weight ratios compared to aluminum and better temperature performance than conventional materials. 

The speed and precision is due to a new additive process invented by Impossible Objects. Long-fiber sheets are fed into the printer, and layered shapes are printed onto them in a three-pass process, which includes removing excess powder. The sheets are stacked, heated and pressed. A final step removes unbonded portions to reveal the final product. 

Using it PEEK polymer as an example, Impossible Objects claims parts can have: 

  • High heat performance to 350 degrees C
  • High dimensional accuracy to 100 microns 
  • Tensile strength to 140 PMa
  • High chemical resistance
  • UL 94V-0 flame resistance certification 
  • No shrinkage or warpage 

Impossible Objects says the CBAM 25 can produce parts with better strength-to-weight ratios compared to aluminum. Image courtesy of Impossible Objects. 

The company claims parts produced with their PEEK polymer are suitable for tooling, spares, repairs and end-use products. 

Selected specifications: 

  • Maximum build volume: 18x17.7x4 in.
  • Production speed: 11,000 cm3/hour
  • Minimum wall thickness: 2 mm
  • Supports: No support materials; no restrictions on build angles 
  • Layer thickness: 50-60 microns 
  • Print resolution (x,y): 1200x1200
  • Print accuracy: 0.005 in.
  • Polymer powders supported: PEEK and Nylon 12 
  • Printer external dimensions: 20x5x5 ft 
  • Power requirements: 220v / 2 Phase 30 Amp
  • Operating temperature: 70 F at 50% relative humidity 

Impossible Objects says the CBAM 25 can run in standard manufacturing environments. The use of roll-fed substrate minimizes sheet handling errors, while an artificial intelligence-based in-situ process control ensures stable and repeatable results. Unused fibers can be recycled. 

Impossible Objects is demonstrating the CBAM 25 at this year’s RAPID + TCT; it expects first shipments in early 2024. For more information visit the Impossible Objects CBAM 25 home page.  

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website. 

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