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ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:48 am
by ezrec
I recently acquired a ZCorp 310 +, along with a depowdering station and a full bin of powder.

If anyone wants me to run some experiments on a 'commercial' powder bed system, let me know.

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:10 pm
by dragonator
Neat, why the sudden Zcorp printer. Do you have any specific goal with it or was it simply available.

Other than the general 'how does it work, what are roller diameters, temperatures, speeds' I don't have anything specific at this point. If you have played around with it you will be more experienced with the technique, so I might ask for you opinion when I am designing my next powder printer, but I would have done that regardless.

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:00 pm
by ezrec
Had the opportunity to pick one up (broken) for the price of transportation.

Took a few hours to get it fixed (new HP10 head, purge binder lines, etc) and it's working nicely.

Using sake rice wine and ZP150 powder currently, and it's printing small test objects nicely.

Came with the depowdering station, which is nice.

Give me a list of measurements to make, and I'll make them.

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:58 am
by dragonator
Sounds like a great deal. A friend of mine also had a Zcorp and used rice wine. He always said that the printing quality was slightly worse, but the machine smelled amazing after printing.

The main 2 things I am interested in are the spreader and the environment. What is the spreader diameter, roughly how fast does it spin, does it have a scraper and is it really as polished and shiny as I am led to believe?

The printing environment is most important to me. I suspect plan B's prints were so ridiculously weak because I did not have proper heating during printing. How hot is the environment it is printing in. Does this heat come from the machine heating the air or is the powder bed heated. Is there a significant airflow in the machine or is the air still.

Just out of curiosity, do you have to prepare the build and feed hopper yourself or do you have a machine capable of doing that itself?

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:53 am
by ezrec
There is a rolling spreader, 19mm in diameter, that spins at approx 250 RPM.

(At a 2x slow-mo, I counted 2 revolutions per second, so that's about 4 real revolutions per second, or 240 RPM, calling it 250 RPM)

There is no metal scraper, only the roller.

The 'snowplows' on the sides are held on to the side of the bin by (pretty weak) magnets, and I think they are too short to do a good job. I'm thinking about 3D-printing some less-terrible replacements.

If Z-corp had lathed in a 2mm x 5mm deep notch into the spreader, they could have eliminated the need for the snowplows, and the mess of powder on each side of the print box. (I use a similar idea on BrundleFab, and I don't lose any powder over the sides).

Finished objects have a weak green strength, but I leave them in the bed for ~4 hours, then gross depowder, then cook them in a 80C oven for 2 hours (to fully dry), then (since it's ZP150 powder) lightly spray the surface with Epson salt water (70ml epson salt by volume, then add water to make 160ml total, fully dissolve), let cure for another 2 hours in the 80C oven, then paint, and seal (I'm using clear nail polish for small objects, I have no idea what I'm going to use for large ones).

See the appendix of the ZP150 User's Guide for the 'Salt Water Cure' details: ... 0Guide.pdf

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:32 pm
by ezrec
Also of interest:

* The controller is a x86 PC motherboard with a custom FPGA card
** The OS is Phar Lap's 'TNT' embedded Win32 API RTOS.
* The fast (printhead) and slow (gantry) axes appears to be controlled by DC + Encoder
* The fast axis motor controller and printhead controller are both on the fast axis itself
** Similar to what I have in BrundleFab

The feed and part bins use a single motor (probably DC + encoder again) each, with a guide rod on each side of the box.

As best as I can tell, the ZCorp machine also uses a similar velocity (instead of position) controlled printhead movement.

The DC + encoder technique is a good fit for this machine, as it is very fast (where it needs to be) and the heavily geared DC motors have a lot of torque. Also, the encoder provides a good feedback for 'something has jammed my axis', allowing for error reporting instead of crunching the machine.

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:28 am
by ezrec
On close inspection of the build/feed pistons on the Z310+ (during a powder changeover), I noticed that the feed/build piston heads are a sandwich of two stainless steel plates, bolted together with a fibrous (cotton?) material between them that creates the actual piston ring.

Attached is a close-up of one of the corners of the feed piston, where this is evident.
Close-up of Z310+ feed piston head
Close-up of Z310+ feed piston head
IMG_0601.JPG (433.11 KiB) Viewed 24984 times

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:39 am
by dragonator
I have heard of a system like this, but I have never seen it with my own eyes. now that I see it, I like it. This seems like a good way to ensure a proper seal. I think I will borrow this design for the next powder printer.

can't help but notice the textured walls. Are the walls on the 310+ really that bumpy? Also there seems to be a gap in the corner. Does powder leak through there and does leaked powder get captured at the bottom? Does the powder get stuck in the 'cotton?' or does it sit mostly on top.

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:46 pm
by ezrec
The texture of the wall is more visual than functional - think orange peel.

The powder does leak (a very small amount), and it is contained by the bottom of the unit.

I just vacuum it out periodically.

Re: ZCorp 310 +

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:32 pm
by ezrec
Had my Z310+ apart, found out how they kept the 12V supply constant - a big ass 2200uf capacitor across the power pogo pins!