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3D Printing Upends the Production Tooling Market

by Eric Rice

Anyone building production parts with injection molding knows the time and money required to manufacture molds. Collider, a start-up in the additive manufacturing space, has developed a machine that leverages 3D printing to make production quality parts in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of the conventional injection molding process.

Collider’s machine, called Orchid, works by 3D printing a mold using DLP technology. The mold is then filled with an off-the-shelf material such as rubber, silicone, or polyurethane. After the material hardens the mold is dissolved in warm water and removed, leaving the production quality part behind. This video from Collider shows the process in detail:

Using off-the-shelf materials means that prototypes can be created in the same material as the production parts. This is a major departure from traditional 3D printing where prototypes are built in specialty materials that are different than production materials. Additionally, Orchid works with metal. After the metal powder and resin mixture hardens and the mold is removed, the part passes through a sintering furnace which finishes the part for use.

A key component of Orchid is the integrated motor that drives the main print axis. When Graham Bredemeyer, CEO at Collider, and his team needed to upgrade the smoothness and accuracy of the main axis, they turned to Applied Motion Products for assistance. According to Graham, the Applied Motion integrated motor used on the main axis is one of the most reliable components in the machine. With machines running virtually 24/7, zero technical issues with key components is a necessity. In addition to excellent up-time and reliability, Graham and his team appreciate the encoder options available from Applied Motion Products, as well as the robust documentation provided with every motor.

According to Cacky Calderon, President and COO of Collider, Orchid can speed up the iterative design process from a few weeks to a few hours, and reduce the cost of molding production quality parts by 100 times or more. Collider refers to their process as Programmable Tooling. Cacky says, “Imagine having an idea in the morning and testing it in the afternoon, in the exact same materials you ship to a customer.”

We think that’s awesome.

To learn more about Collider or join their beta program visit

To talk with an Applied Motion Products sales professional about improving your next motion control project, click here.

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