AB-3D presents its D-PATCH multi-material 3D printer at Formnext – technical specifications and prices


AB-3D, a young 3D printer manufacturer based in Prosselsheim, Germany, presented its D-PATCH 3D printer for the first time at the Form next 2021.

The company’s first prototype is a delta-extrusion-based 3D printer running on AB-3D’s Fused Layer Modeling (FLM) process. Interestingly, the D-PATCH is equipped with an automatic tool changer system that allows the machine to 3D print with up to five different materials in one print job.

Intended more for higher performance applications, D-PATCH is capable of processing filaments such as PETG, TPU, PA, PC and even ceramic and metal infused composites. As such, the 3D printer goes beyond simple multi-color prints and into the realm of multifunctional parts, with use cases in both functional prototyping and final production.

Adrian Beetz from AB-3D hands over the D-PATCH prototype to the Coburg University of Applied Sciences. Photo via AB-3D.

Multi-material delta 3D printing with AB-3D

The combination of tool change and delta FDM is not what we often see in the 3D printing industry. Delta coordinate systems differ from the common Cartesian setup because the print head moves in all three axes (XYZ) while the print bed remains completely stationary. Beyond aesthetics, delta printers are actually known for their faster travel and print speeds, as the weight of the single printhead is divided between the three motors.

Despite the company’s infancy, AB-3D’s FLM technology has already proven itself in the academic sphere, having been used by the Cobourg University of Applied Sciences for research projects.

The D-PATCH also reached the semi-finals of a local German 3D printing competition with the additive manufacturing of a multi-material industrial part.

The D-PATCH build chamber.  Photo via AB-3D.
The D-PATCH build chamber. Photo via AB-3D.

The D-PATCH 3D printer

When it comes to the initial prototypes, the D-PATCH actually looks like a pretty competent kit. The delta machine features a cylindrical build volume of Ø300 x 400mm, with a heated build plate and a closed chamber capable of maintaining temperatures of 60 ° C. Users will be able to choose from a selection of print surface options, including PEI coated spring steel, glass, BuildTak, and FR4 / G10 fiberglass epoxy.

Although the machine has only one printhead, the integrated tool changer works to switch between five different filaments on the fly, allowing the production of multi-material and multi-functional constructions.

To enable printing with these higher performance filaments, the D-PATCH also offers a high nozzle temperature of 450 ° C. Users will even be able to replace the default nozzle with one better suited to their needs – the list of options includes brass, stainless steel, nickel-plated copper, and more.

Additional features include Wi-Fi connectivity, automated bed leveling, end-of-filament sensor, power loss recovery, and even a particle filtration system for safe and comfortable indoor use.

The system's delta configuration allows for faster print speeds, while maintaining accuracy.  Photo via AB-3D.
The system’s delta configuration allows for faster print speeds, while maintaining accuracy. Photo via AB-3D.

Technical specifications and prices

Below are the technical specifications of the AB-3D D-PATCH. The 3D printer is currently in the prototype phase, with a commercial launch on the horizon.

Build volume 300 (d) x 400 mm
Bed temperature Up to 120 ° C
Nozzle temperature Up to 450 ° C
Room temperature Up to 60 ° C
Printing speed Up to 200 mm / s
Tool heads Up to 5
Nozzle diameter 0.2 – 2 mm

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The image shown shows Adrian Beetz from AB-3D handing over the D-PATCH prototype to the Coburg University of Applied Sciences. Photo via AB-3D.