Extrusion Based 3D Printing
How does the process work?
Our fused filament (extrusion) process works by taking a thermoplastic monofilament and feeding it through a heated nozzle then depositing it layer by layer into a three dimensional object. Temperature, feedrate, print speed and material flow are all carefully and precisely controlled by the printer hardware, firmware and slicing software.
does the r.pod printer cost more than other filament printers?
Filament printers, with varying capabilities, have become quite pervasive at both professional and consumer levels. As a result, the cost of a filament printer has been reduced dramatically in recent years. When we developed the r.Pod Desktop 3D Printer we made a strategic decision to price it above the average consumer level printer (≤$2,500), but drastically lower than many professional level printers that start in the $10,000+ price range. The r.Pod is capable of printing materials that are often challenging in many basic consumer level printers while producing quality that can rival that of a far more expensive machine. Plus, the r.Pod is tested and certified for compatibility with the suite of medical grade filaments for dental use from Arfona and Valplast, which includes several FDA and CE class I and II materials. Most importantly, when you purchase an r.Pod you are making an investment not just in a piece of equipment but in the digital production of your dental lab or clinic. Our friendly and helpful staff are here to get you up and running as soon as possible and are always more than willing to share their knowledge and expertise with you and your technicians.
Why filament printing? Is it accurate enough for dental?
Although filament printing typically produces 3D printed parts that may not have the same surface quality as resin based printing, it is an extremely accurate process that lends itself well to materials that could not otherwise be 3D printed (i.e. nylon, PMMA, etc.) In a dental environment technicians are accustomed to working with post processing techniques such as sandblasting, finishing with a handpick and polishing with a lathe, all of which work very well with our 3D printed parts. We have found that printing at 100μ is more than acceptable for most removable prosthodontic and orthodontic appliances and will produce excellent results. Plus, there is no additional shrinkage or warping during post-processing as is often the case with resin based printing.
What other benefits does filament printing have over resin based printing?
Resin based printing can have many drawbacks, including questionable toxicity of materials and less than optimal material properties as regards strength, dimensional stability and aesthetics. Photopolymers used in resin printing may be messy and hazardous to work with, always require post processing (cleaning + additional UV curing) and may pose a risk to the environment. A breakthrough study by the University of California, Riverside examined the potential toxicological effects of both filament and resin based printing, available online here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.estlett.5b00249
r.Pod Tech Specs
Printer Size: 18” x 14¾” x 12½”
Machine Weight: 27 lbs.
Power Supply: 110V/220V
Nozzle Size: 0.4mm
Max. Nozzle Temp: 270°C
Max. Bed Temp: 100°C
Printing Layer Height: 50μ, 100μ, 200μ, 300μ
Positioning Accuracy: X/Y = 0.011mm, Z = 0.0025mm
How are parts smoothed out after printing? What is the post-process?
3D Printed Valplast parts are brought to a high gloss after printing by following these simple steps:
Remove breakaway supports from 3D printed Valplast part
Rough finishing with carbide bur, contouring and fitting with a green mounted stone using an electric handpiece.
Acrylic denture teeth are cemented into sockets in the 3D printed Valplast denture.
Denture is smoothed with a rubber point on an electric handpiece.
Denture is polishing using pumice, tripoli and high shine compound on a polishing lathe.
How are teeth bonded to a 3D printed Valplast?
Traditional Valplast dentures produced from injection molding require mechanical retention in each denture tooth (diatoric holes) in order to retain them in the denture base. Valplast 3D uses a unique process to bond acrylic teeth in the denture chemically using Val-Fuse (a proprietary bonding agent for Valplast) and self-curing acrylic resin. The denture base is primed with the bonding agent and an acrylic tooth is bonded using self-curing acrylic resin in a pressure vessel. The process works with milled PMMA teeth, prefabricated acrylic and composite denture teeth, and NextDent C&B MFH 3D printing resin from NextDent/3D Systems.
How are the teeth designed for a 3D printed Valplast?
There are essentially three separate methods for designing a Valplast denture digitally for use with various tooth schemes:
The denture and denture teeth are both designed digitally and sockets are created for the denture teeth in the denture base. Both the denture base and the denture teeth are exported as separate files for manufacturing.
Prefabricated denture teeth are arranged traditionally in wax on a dental model. A plaster matrix is recorded over the tooth arrangement and the wax eliminated to disclose the basal surfaces of the teeth. The tooth arrangement and dental models are scanned and the denture base is designed digitally around the manual tooth arrangement.
A Valplast denture is designed digitally and teeth are not included in the design. Retention mesh is incorporated into the denture and will be used after printing the Valplast to place teeth manually and secure them in place with acrylic resin.
Download this infographic for more info on the design process and software requirements!
Education & Training
What education and training do you provide to new users?
All r.Pod purchases come with two hours of dedicated, personalized online training for you and as many of your technicians as you would like. In addition to your two hours of online training you receive one year of our Platinum Care Support, giving you exclusive access to our technicians via phone and e-mail for any technical questions you may have. All users with active Platinum Care plans also have unlimited access to the members-only portion of our website, loaded with technical videos, procedural guides and community forums to help you learn from our experts and your fellow dental technicians.
can i access your online content without owning an r.pod 3d printer?
Sorry, the members-only portion of our website is for r.Pod users only! Want to become a member of this exclusive club? Purchase your r.Pod Desktop 3D Printer today! Want more information before you buy? Schedule a sales consultation with one of our friendly reps today and they will be happy to give you a guided tour of our online content and an overview of 3D printing with r.Pod.
Do you offer any hands-on workshops?
We are currently working on the curriculum for our hands-on workshops and are excited to share them with you as soon as they become available. Add your name to our mailing list today and we will notify you as soon as dates are available for our hands-on workshops!
What is your shipping policy?
Arfona ships via UPS to all 50 states using the service of your choice. Shipping charges are calculated based on weight and volume and will be added to your order during checkout.
International orders are handled exclusively by our network of resellers. Please contact us and we will be happy to connect you with one of our international distributors or to help you place your order by phone or e-mail.
Are all of the products on your site currently available?
We are a new company with big ideas and are committed to bring all of our inventions to fruition as soon as possible. There are some products or technologies that you may see on our site that are not yet commercially available. All of the items in our online store are available for purchase. Please check back often and join our mailing list in order to stay up to date on all new product launches and announcements.
How do I order wholesale?
Arfona is currently looking for international distributors to help us make the whole world go digital. Please contact us for distribution opportunities.
Can I order over the phone instead?
Yes! Please call us at (718) 290-9300 to place your order over the phone.