Closer Look: A fast, accurate 3D printer that boosts production

October 5, 2020
Stan Goff
Volume 42, Issue 3

The 3D Systems NextDent 5100 printer is helping DenMat’s laboratory division see a big jump in efficiency, production.

When Oscar Buenrostro first looked into the NextDent 5100 printer from 3D Systems, he thought some of the features and benefits seemed a little too good to be true. Having worked in the laboratory division of DenMat for close to a decade, he has worked with a number of 3D printers, and some just didn’t perform as well as expected, while most didn’t deliver on all of their promises.

That all changed when he tested and then started working with 3D Systems’ NextDent 5100. Before deciding on purchasing the technology, Buenrostro wanted to take the high-speed printer on a few test drives. He had been intrigued when he learned of the printer’s speed and capabilities, but he needed to know if it could really perform that well in his laboratory.

“We tried multiple printers and noticed they didn’t have the speed and accuracy we were looking for,” he says. “They weren’t speeding things up, and we also came across 3D printers that just didn’t have the quality we were looking for. We definitely experimented a lot with 3D printers until we came across the NextDent 5100, and after a couple days our model output definitely increased.”

Buenrostro who is a Model Shop, Milling & 3D Printing Supervisor, says DenMat has worked with this printer for more than a year and the results have been quite impressive. Using the NextDent 5100’s high precision vertical stacked printing for orthodontic models has given the team a big boost in production. The laboratory uses the NextDent 5100 3D printer and the range and diversity of NextDent materials for the production of orthodontic dental models, crown and bridge solutions, implant models for diagnostics, and impression trays.

“They loaned us the printer and let us try it for three months, customers were really confident about the diagnostic models and the precision,” says Buenrostro. “The NextDent 5100 is a very simple and easy to use solution, and offers the precision and part quality that we need for our applications.”

The auto-stacking feature in 3D Sprint® for high precision vertical stacked printing of orthodontic models provides advanced productivity for a very high volume application. Integrating the NextDent 5100 3D printer, NextDent Model 2.0 material and a proprietary, high precision stacked build in 3D Sprint, the one-click automated solution has helped DenMat increase its output of orthodontic models, producing up to 96 models in an 8 hour shift. Employing this solution results in increased productivity while reducing resource consumption including materials and labor.

“With the stack option feature, it is just amazing,” he says. “Now we’re able to print anywhere from 96 orthodontic models to over a hundred in an eight hour shift.” Buenrostro says the technology makes his laboratory team so much more efficient on a regular basis.

“With the majority of cases DenMat is able to print 36 models every two hours, which means I can assign our 3D printing technician other tasks and still have multiple jobs in the queue ready to start once the 5100 is done printing its current job,” he adds.

The accuracy of the printer allows DenMat to use it for a variety of cases, including SnapOn Smile cases, and the software is easy to master, according to Buenrostro.

“Everything from the file preparation and placement is done within the software just by selecting the pre-filled prompted steps. The software truly does all the work, saving on labor costs,” he says, speaking to his experience with the 3D Sprint workflow. “The software is adamantly straightforward—in such a way that models get started within 2 minutes. There’s no prolonged process of having to adjust or stack the models.”

The NextDent 5100 printer is performing so well that Buenrostro expects DenMat to look into new tasks to take advantage of the technology and the advanced resins.

“We actually just got some resin for dentures. So that is going to be another little project that we’re going to tag on that printer, to see how that turns out on the NextDent 5100,” the DenMat supervisor says. “This printer has been awesome for us and it may turn out to get even better.”

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