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A new paradigm in producing large-scale molds

Updated: Mar 20

Kicking off the new year by visiting the premises of an innovative 3D printing company is always a good start. As Massivit 3D is shifting its focus from large-format parts to composite tooling solutions, it was the right time to explore the differences between its traditional products and its new technology y that was presented at Formnext 2022.

So, I gladly accepted the invitation for a tour with the team.

Short background

Massivit was founded in 2013 by a group of recognized industry experts with a goal to become a leader in large-format 3D printing solutions. With its unique Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP) technology, the company’s 3D printers overcome two main challenges – capacity and speed. Massivit 3D’s technology enables the production of large elements for a range of markets including the Automotive, Rail, Marine, and Entertainment markets.

Since its first 3D printer launch in 2016, the company has sold 190 units to various industries. In 2021 the company raised $52M in the Israeli stock exchange to become a publicly traded company. In June this year, it introduced the Massivit 10000 additive manufacturing system with its innovative Cast in Motion technology. Today, the company employs over 100 people, with offices in Israel, Europe, and North America.

From prototyping to composite tooling

The company’s first-generation products allow users to produce large parts in a printing process that’s similar to Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), but much faster. The printed parts can be used as a final item for Automotive tooling and tuning, full-scale functional prototyping, geometric cores for composite end parts, as well as experiential displays.

Looking into the future, the company wanted to expand its offering, adding a new technology that can help companies manufacture final products made of composite materials. In June 2022, the company introduced a unique and exciting new technology called Cast in Motion (CIM). This technology enables its users to 3D print large molds using a high-performance casting material from which large parts can be produced.

Erez Zimerman, Massivit 3D’s CEO, presents a prototype of a motorcycle seat and a large-scale 3D-printed mold

How does the CIM technology work?

The outer sacrificial shell is 3D printed with a water-breakable gel, in any geometry. A thermoset epoxy material, that has high mechanical and thermal properties, is intermittently cast into that shell, forming an isotropic mold. The process repeats itself layer-by-layer until the final mold has been created. Once the encapsulated mold is immersed in plain water, the sacrificial shell crumbles away, leaving the desired mold ready to use.

While visiting Massivit’s printing center, I had the chance to see the process in action.

Avi Cohen, VP of Global Sales, was working with the team on producing a mold for one of their customers. At the printing center, Massivit uses six large-scale 3D printers to print benchmark parts for prospective customers, trade shows, and to test new materials in development.

The Massivit 10000 based on CIM technology at the Massivit 3D headquarters

So that I could take a closer look, the operator stopped the printing process, and I was able to peek inside the shell. From a higher angle, I could see the casted epoxy between the shell walls.. cool stuff!

Massivit’s Cast in Motion technology in action

After printing was completed, the outer shell was removed and an isotropic mold was born. In some cases, the mold requires a post-processing step that includes post curing the mold in an oven to improve its mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, and it can be post-finished manually or machined as needed. Once these steps are done, the mold is ready for use.

Another cool application in digital tooling that is possible with Massivit’s technology, is printing a large wash-away mandrel that can be used for creating large end use parts with sheets of carbon fiber. The 3D printed mandrel can be created rapidly, and after a short finishing process, it is ready for work.

A large-scale mandrel that was printed with the Massivit 10000

The final composite material end-use parts have been created using digital technology, saving a significant amount of time and costs compared to traditional and labor-intensive methods:

The plan for 2023 and beyond

Massivit is set to grow the business globally with an extensive network of sales partners, and new team members that recently joined the company in North America and Asia. The Massivit 10000, is a high-end system that will be the main growth engine of the company, alongside the company’s legacy systems.

Furthermore, the company is working on enabling new materials on the Massivit 10000 that will open new possibilities and applications for a wider range of industries.

With it’s Cast in Motion technology and the new materials on the horizon, Massivit is set sail to transform the long and tedious process of producing large molds into a short and efficient digital process, thereby cutting time, costs, and manual labor by up to 90%. With its unique offering, the company is at a great starting point for a super year!


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