3D printing has its limitations, stemming from the very foundation of how it works. For some designers and engineers this technology still falls short of results of other rapid prototyping or fabrication methods they are used to, like injection molding or CNC milling. Their arguments are strong – limited materials, limited mechanical and aesthetical properties and in some cases even cost efficiency of production. When 3D printing is not enough, the obvious choice is to reach for a different technology. Matt Olczyk from ZMorph proved that the change of technology can now be done by simply changing a toolhead in a single desktop hybrid 3D printer. For that he designed a mechanical clock and manufactured it by combining 3D printing, CNC milling and laser cutting.
In order to assemble his clock, Matt collected over 80 different parts, which with only a few exceptions, like bike chains and screws, were all manufactured with ZMorph 2.0 S Hybrid 3D Printer and the Voxelizer software. Small and medium gears were 3D printed in order to make them prone to mechanical wearing. Bigger gears were CNC milled to make them both lightweight and sturdy. Translucent plexiglass was also CNC milled in order to make the whole design more aesthetically pleasing while it properties allowed the designer to combine it with adhesive foil for laser cutting. The beam went through the plexiglass and precisely cut the numbers on the clock face.
Up until now a design project combining different production technologies and materials would require the use of several different machines – separate for 3D printing, CNC milling and laser cutting. Instead of these machines, Matt was able to use a single ZMorph 2.0 S Hybrid 3D Printer with interchangeable toolhead system allowing him to switch the toolheads in a matter of seconds. Thanks to ZMorph Matt saved time and significantly lowered the manufacturing costs while the entire workshop fit on his desk, so he could supervise the entire development process of high quality and very precise parts for the clock.