Desktop Metal Fiber

High-Resolution Parts with Industrial-Grade Composites from a Fast, Affordable Desktop 3D Printer

FiberTM is the world’s first desktop 3D printer that lets users build high-resolution parts with the industrial-grade continuous fiber composite materials used in automated fiber placement (AFP) processes. Users can print parts of exceptional strength and stiffness (twice the strength of steel at 20% of the weight), in a broad range of materials that previously required million-dollar AFP systems. All from their desktop.

Parts Stronger than Steel,
Lighter than Aluminum.
Printed on your Desktop

Fiber™ by Desktop Metal is the only 3D printer to leverage Micro Automated Fiber Placement ( µAFP) to produce parts that meet superior performance specifications built with true fiber-reinforced composite materials. The system was inspired by large robotic systems with 5-axis capability used in the aerospace industry to print large airframes made of fiberglass. Using similar fundamentals, Fiber is a 3D printer with a modular µAFP print head system that is powered by a tool-changing platform. It prints parts from two print heads; one using continuous fiber tape; the other using chopped fiber-reinforced filament. With closed-loop heat control, the AFP print head deposits a continuous fiber tape along critical load paths to print dense, reinforced sections, while the second printhead extrudes the chopped fiber filament to print a high-resolution exterior shell.

 

 

 

Key Features

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Wide Range of High Performance Materials

Fiber™ uses prepreg materials and uni-directional continuous fiber material systems that combine really high stiffness fibers like carbon, glass, Kevlar, etc with a thermoplastic matrix such as PA6 (Nylon), PEEK, or PEKK.

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Built for Industry

Fiber™ is able to 3D print high quality and consistent end-use parts for automotive, electronics, consumer goods, machine design, manufacturing tooling, jigs and fixtures.

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High Quality, Consistency, and Repeatability

µAFP, there is a lot of flexibility and design by programming the filament coverage and orientation to be applied on each layer, the 3D printed parts are strong and consistent. Moreover, the continuous carbon fiber helps to suppress the warping.

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End-to-End Solution

With Fiber™, there is no need for extensive manual labour and no tool preparation. Fiber cures the material as it lays it therefore there is no need to put the parts in an oven or additional post-machining work.

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Easy-to-use

Engineers can begin 3D printing industrial-grade composites in minutes, with the affordability and speed of a desktop printer.

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Affordable and Accessible

With a 3-year commitment lease plan that includes not only maintenance, consultancy but also machine updating, you'll never have to worry about outdated equipment. Fiber™ starts at US $5,495/year.

How it Works

Step 1

Prepare and Analyze Part Geometry

Prepare and optimize your design for 3D printing by generating geometries, reviewing loading conditions, and identifying areas for reinforcement.

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Step 2

Identify Areas for Reinforcement

Selectively reinforce with continuous carbon fiber or fiberglass μAFP tape along critical load paths.

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Step 3

3D Print

A dual-deposition print method to build parts layer-by-layer in both chopped carbon fiber or fiberglass filament and continuous carbon fiber or fiberglass µAFP tape. Fiber™ uses a robotic tool changer to switch between FFF tool head and µAFP tape.

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Step 4

Part Anatomy

Parts printed on Fiber™ feature a chopped fiber shell and solid, continuous carbon fiber or fiberglass reinforcements.

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Applications

Mold Tools

Composite tools can dramatically reduce tooling costs and lead time, with little thermal expansion

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Jigs and Fixtures

Assembly and machining fixtures can be 3D printed and customized for individual parts and unique manufacturing workflows

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End Effectors / End of Arm Tooling

Reduce payload requirements with lightweight and rigid end effectors that hold up in demanding environments

Rapid Prototyping

Create quick-turnaround functional prototypes with end-use materials designed for grueling testing requirements

3D printing Production Parts

Production Parts

High-performance composite parts that allow for a high degree of customization and functionality

Replacement and Bridge Components

Can't find drawings or free up machining time? Replace parts with heavy-duty composites stronger than steel

Additive Manufacturing with Composites

Materials that are stronger than steel, but lighter than aluminum are empowering innovation across every industry. Discover the power of 3D printing with composites today. 

Request a Sample

Strong parts

Continuous fiber reinforcement

Fiber™ uses prepreg materials uni-directional continuous fiber material systems that combine really high stiffness fibers like carbon, glass, Kevlar, etc with a thermoplastic matrix such as PA6 (Nylon), PEEK, or PEKK. This continuous carbon fiber or fiberglass tape is applied along critical load paths in a process called Micro Automated Fiber Placement (µAFP). Layers of highly loaded continuous fiber tape are laminated to build dense, reinforced sections over three times stronger than steel and as low as one-fifth the weight (up to 2,400 MPa tensile strength and <1.5 g/cc).

Continuous fiber printing expands this landscape to enable stronger, lighter weight components:

  • Over 75x stiffer than ABS
  • Over 60x stronger than ABS

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Low porosity 

Utilizing continuous fiber tapes made with up to 12k carbon fiber tows or E-glass fiberglass reinforcement, up to 60% fiber volume fraction, and exceptional resin impregnation, Fiber™ is able to achieve continuous fiber reinforcement with less than 5% porosity (or less than 1% porosity for the aerospace industry) which means a higher strength of the printed parts.

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Multidirectional µAFP tape layers

For maximum coverage, with Fiber™ you can automatically optimize where and how much tape to be impregnated or you can enable Expert Mode to customize the orientation for specific loading conditions.

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Wide Array of Materials

Fiber™ accommodates a broad set of fiber-reinforced composites, which enables a remarkably versatile range of applications, from consumer electronics to automotive parts. Powered by two print heads: a continuous fiber prepreg tape and a dedicated chopped fiber-reinforced filament.

The prepreg tapes are unidirectional fiber sheets uniformly pre-impregnated with a thermoplastic polymer matrix (PEEK, PEKK, or Nylon PA6). End-use composite parts are manufactured using these prepreg tapes such as fuselage panels, rudders, and elevators in the aerospace industry, or, pressure vessels, pipes in the oil and gas industry, auto parts for the automotive industry, etc.

FIBER Materials Data Sheet

PEKK + Carbon Fiber

PEEK + Carbon Fiber

Nylon (PA6) + Carbon Fiber

Nylon (PA6) + Fiberglass

PEKK + Continuous Carbon Fiber

Description

Characterized by its high tensile and compressive strength, PEKK is chemical-resistant and able to tolerate temperatures above 250­­°C. When reinforced with carbon fiber, the result is parts of exceptional strength and durability that are ideal for use in extreme environments.

Material Characteristics

PEKK

  • Excellent mechanical properties, chemical resistance, and surface abrasion
  • Flame retardant
  • High compression strength
  • ESD-Safe
  • Continuous Use Temperature above 250 °C

 

Carbon Fiber (CF)

  • High strength & stiffness
  • Low coefficient of thermal expansion
  • High fatigue level
  • Somewhat brittle

Chopped Fiber Filament

Carbon Fiber

 

Continuous Fiber Tape

Carbon Fiber

PEEK + Continuous Carbon Fiber

Description

PEEK has superior mechanical characteristics, it is highly resistant to surface abrasion and is heat (above 200­­ °C) and flame resistant. In combination with continuous carbon fiber, the result is a strong, stiff composite with a remarkable fatigue tolerance that’s perfect for jigs and fixtures.

Material Characteristics

PEEK

  • Excellent mechanical properties, chemical resistance, and surface abrasion
  • Flame retardant
  • Continuous Use Temperature between 200-250 °C

 

Carbon Fiber (CF)

  • High strength & stiffness
  • Low coefficient of thermal expansion
  • High fatigue level
  • Somewhat brittle

Chopped Fiber Filament

Carbon Fiber

 

Continuous Fiber Tape

Carbon Fiber

Nylon (PA6) + Continuous Carbon Fiber

Description

Carbon-fiber reinforced PA6 nylon is the perfect solution when ESD compliance is required. The composite material displays a tensile strength that is 30 times stronger than ABS, making it an attractive choice for end-of-arm tooling.

Material Characteristics

Nylon 6 (PA6)

  • Low cost
  • High mechanical strength
  • Continuous Use Temperature ~ 100 °C

 

Carbon Fiber (CF)

  • High strength & stiffness
  • Low coefficient of thermal expansion
  • High fatigue level
  • Somewhat brittle

Chopped Fiber Filament

Carbon Fiber

 

Continuous Fiber Tape

Carbon Fiber

Nylon 6 (PA6) + Continuous Fiberglass

Description

A low-cost composite for fabricating lightweight, high-strength and corrosion-resistant parts, fiberglass-reinforced nylon is well-suited for sporting goods parts that will be exposed to the elements, but require a low cost per part.

Material Characteristics

Nylon 6 (PA6)

  • Low cost
  • High mechanical strength
  • Continuous Use Temperature ~ 100 °C

 

Fiberglass (FG)

  • Low-cost
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Non-conductive (insulator)
  • No radio-signal interference

Chopped Fiber Filament

Fiberglass

 

Continuous Fiber Tape

Fiberglass

Material Performance

Chopped Fiber

The majority of thermoplastics have mechanical properties that fall in the narrow range of <8 GPa tensile modulus and <100 MPa strength. Minor enhancements within this range may be achieved through modifications to polymers or with the addition of chopped carbon fiber and fiberglass fillers.

 

Continuous Fiber

With traditional methods, especially for small-scale continuous fiber components, extensive labour processing and tooling are required. For the large-scale AFP, the industrial automated fiber placement is used and it requires special facilities, high equipment investments, not to mention that you can only manufacture large-scale parts. With Fiber™ and continuous fiber printing, you get stronger and lighter parts for a wide range of applications, as CF is over 75x stiffer and over 60x stronger than the ABS.

 

Cost-effective and Easy to Use

Fiber™ combines the advantages of continuous fiber with the simplicity of 3D printing. Besides advanced composite materials, strong parts and exceptional surface finish, the pricing model of this printer never lets engineers with outdated equipment.

Fiber™ is available in two versions, Fiber LT (low-temperature) for US $3,495/year and Fiber HT (high-temperature) for US $5,495/year. With a 3-year commitment lease plan that includes not only maintenance, consultancy but also machine updating, you’ll never have to worry about outdated equipment.

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In just a few minutes and at the press of a button from the comfort of their desktop, engineers can now 3D print high-quality industrial-grade composite parts, due to Fiber™’s entry-level settings and opt-in advanced controls.

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Part Gallery and Application Examples

Brake duct-PEKK-CF 3D printed part Desktop Metal

Brake Duct

Material: PEEK + Carbon Fiber

Found on a BMW hill climb car, this duct reroutes air from the front of the car to cool its brakes.

Full Description

Printing on Fiber enables optimization for the most efficient airflow, leading to better cooling. Brakes get extremely hot during competition, PEKK + CF provides heat resistance and is lighter than an aluminum alternative.

Specs
Size (mm): 130 x 63 x 97
Cost ($):54.92
Weight (g):65
Print time (hr):11
Application

End-Use Part

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


Ski binding 3D Printed Fiber - Desktop Metal

Ski Binding

Material: PA6 + CF

The ski binding heel track attaches to the base plate on a ski, allowing the heel binding to be adjusted.

 

Full Description

Ski bindings need to be extremely stiff to withstand the forces experienced by the ski as it turns, making composites an ideal choice. Using Fiber™, manufacturers can prototype this part before it is mass-produced via injection molding.

Specs
Size (mm): 143 x 57 x 10
Cost ($): 6.24
Weight (g): 25
Print time (hrs.): 5
Application

End-Use Part

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


Rocket tail cone - Desktop Metal - 3D Printed - Fiber

Rocket Tail Cone

Material: PEEK + CF

This part sits at the end of a rocket, redirecting air for optimal aerodynamics.

Full Description

This part has to withstand the extreme heat of a rocket engine, so it must be fabricated using a high-temperature material like PEEK. With the design freedom of Fiber, engineers were also able to add complex features to improve aerodynamics.

Specs
Size (mm): 155 x 155 x 157
Cost ($): 297.08
Weight (g): 350
Print time (hrs.): 31
Application

End-Use Part

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


Bike Pedal Crank - 3D printed - DEsktop Metal - Fber

Bike Pedal Crank

Material: PA6 + FG

Connecting arm responsible for attaching a pedal to the rear wheel crankset of a bike.

Full Description

Shedding weight is critical for performance bikes. Composites are an ideal choice for bike components like this due to their high specific strength and stiffness.
Printing on Fiber in fiberglass-reinforced PA6 allows for the manufacture of a corrosion-resistant, low-cost, functional prototype without the typical labor-intensive process of hand layup.

Specs
Size (mm): 205 x 46 x 24
Cost ($): 22.82
Weight (g): 66
Print time (hrs.): 9
Application

End-Use Part

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


UHF Housing 3D printed Fiber - Desktop Metal

UHF Housing

Material: PEKK + CF

Ultra high frequency radio housing for use in a cubesat.

Full Description

Due to the extreme temperatures, this part will face in space, this part was printed using PEKK.
Printing this part allowed the cubesat team to quickly iterate on the design in its intended material, and producing multiple variations in a matter of days. The complex geometry and small features of this part make it ideal for printing.

Specs
Size (mm): 95 x 67 x 36
Cost ($): 60.51
Weight (g): 54
Print time (hrs.): 20.6
Application

End-Use Part

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


Turbo charger 3D printed - Fiber - DEsktop Metal

Balance Shaft Gears

Material: PEKK + CF

This part is a balance shaft gear used in an automotive turbocharger to reduce vibration.

Full Description

Printing in PEEK delivers a lighter part compared to metal counterparts, while still meeting the strength and heat requirements.
With the ability to print industrial-grade composites like PEEK with continuous carbon fiber reinforcement, Fiber™ allows engineers to print parts that can stand up to high temperatures and have unrivaled part strength – without spending tens of thousands of dollars.

Specs
Size (mm): 117 x 117 x 15
Cost ($): 53.37
Weight (g): 63
Print time (hrs.): 11
Application

End-Use Part

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


Shroud Holder-3d printed-Fiber-DEsktop Metal

Shroud Holder

Material: PA6 + CF

This fixture is used to hold metal injection molded shrouds for secondary machining operations.

Full Description

Designed to hold metal injection molded shrouds in place as an articulated robot picks them up and places them in a CNC fixture. This part features customized geometry that conforms to the shrouds’ shape.
Due to their stiffness and wear resistance, composites are ideal for this part.

Specs
Size (mm): 143 x 30 x 22
Cost ($): 6.71
Weight (g): 45
Print time (hrs.): 7
Application

Jigs & Fixtures

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


CNC Fixture - 3D printed - Fiber - Desktop Metal

Machining Fixture

Material: PEEK + CF

This fixture holds lock barrels in place during a secondary reaming operation.

Full Description

To achieve desired tolerances, metal injection molded (MIM) parts, such as lock barrels, often require secondary machining operations. The fixtures for these operations must be very stiff to hold lock barrels steady while experiencing the forces and vibration of the reamer.
By printing the part on Fiber, the fixture can be manufactured overnight, with similar material properties to aluminum saving both time and money.

Specs
Size (mm): 212 x 72 x 26
Cost ($): 62.31
Weight (g): 145
Print time (hrs.): 18
Application

Jigs & Fixtures

Technology/Process

Desktop Metal Fiber / Material Extrusion


Technical Specifications

Print Technology
Print Technology
Micro Automated Fiber Placement (μAFP™)
Fused filament fabrication (FFF)
Print System
Print System
CoreXY with robotic tool changer
Max. Build Rate
Max. Build Rate
20 cm3/hr (1.2 in3/hr)
Layer Height
Layer Height
130 µm - 250 µm
Build Envelope
Build Envelope
FFF: 310 x 240 x 270 mm (12.2 x 9.4 x 10.6 in)
µAFP™: 230 x 230 x 270 mm (9.0 x 9.0 x 10.6 in)
Build Plate
Build Plate
Heated up to 149 ºC (300 ºF)
Nozzle Diameter
Nozzle Diameter
0.40 mm
Software
Software
Fabricate® Cloud (desktop options also available)