Ethereal Machines, a Bangalore-based company has been making waves at CES 2018 with their new hybrid printer. So much so, in fact, that they have managed to win the ‘best of innovation’ award at the exhibition. It’s easy to see why everyone is endorsing, considering its 5D printing system. While the company calls it a 5D printer, this is actually a reference to its 5-axis system, not an extension of 4D printing, the making of shape-shifting prints.
Ethereal Machines has named the printer the Halo. Aside from simply using additive tech it also employs CNC milling, which is why it’s a hybrid printer. By current standards the machine is quite expensive as compared to FDM devices but 40 – 50% cheaper than many other 5-axis printers. The price can reach down to $25,000, which is why there’s so much buzz around it.
Another reason that this machine has been receiving wide acclaim is its size. Most 5-axis devices are not this portable. With a total surface area of 900 mm x 900 mm, it fulfils its duty as a desktop machine. The team worked long and hard to make it as compact as possible.
5D Printing & Hybrid Tech
5D printing, as mentioned earlier, has to do with the 5-axis system. The system provides a whole new dynamic range of motion to the print process. The platform and the printhead provide the standard XYZ axes whereas the rotating bed provides A and C axes. The two additional axes allow for odd angles as shown in the video above. These allow the machine to easily deal with overhangs and complex structures.
Along with the axes, the printer also makes use of subtractive and additive manufacturing. CNC machining allows it to properly shape the print after the process of building the shape. The combination of both types of manufacturing and the axes potentially make Ethereal Machines’ Halo one of the most thorough and accurate machines on the market.