Formlabs Fuse 1 cartridge
SLS Cartridge refilling system for the fuse 1
Design challenge for Formlabs
Formlabs was developing the Fuse 1 system and needed to figure out how to re-fill the cartridge conveniently. They turned this problem into a design challenge to determine that year's interns. The design I made inspired some of the features on the final production version of the Fuse 1 cartridge.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) uses a laser to fuse nylon powder into parts that are lightweight and robust. The system requires the user to refill the printer with nylon powder using a delivery device AKA a cartridge. The cartridge transitions from the filling position to the printer’s reservoir roughly twice per print.
I decided to uses a simple "knife" valve. The knife is inserted into the cartridge to prevent the powered from seeking through. A funnel at the bottom of the cartridge is added for transferring of the powder. A locking feature is incorporated to the top of the cartridge so that the each cartridge can transfer powder to another (for re-use or mixing).
How it works
These rendering shows how the product would work with the different system of the SLS family.
A "knife" would engage with gaskets to seal the opening.
The cartridge attach to different equipments in the SLS system through the same locking feature. Left: cartridge installed on the Fuse 1 machine (mockup).
Left: Sift cartridge installed on the sift machine. Right: Cartridges installed on the mix station.
Fuse 1 family (mock up)
To demonstrate my design further, I 3D printed a scale down prototype to illustrate my idea. I used plaster powder as a substitution for nylon powder.
The production of the fuse 1 sift incorporated the "knife" sealing design.