ASM Launches its VX1 Vapor Smoothing Solution for Polymers

Published on April 30, 2024 by Nunzia A.

German startup ASM GmbH has officially launched its vapor smoothing solution for 3D printed polymer parts, named VX1. The company first presented the solution at Formnext 2023, and after being tested by its first customers, it is now available on the market.

As is well known, vapor smoothing is a professional, industrial technique that involves exposing components to a solvent in the form of vapor. This melts the surface of the part, removing its irregularities and making it smooth, uniform and glossy. In addition, it prevents moisture absorption, improving the functional aspect of parts. This post-processing process is useful and sometimes essential to obtain finished parts with the desired aesthetic and mechanical characteristics.

The Vapor Smoothing VX1 machine features a compact design.

In this case, the VX1 solution is designed for post-processing parts produced using polymer powder bed processes and is an industrial entry-level solution. But what exactly can be expected from ASM’s new VX1 vapor smoothing machine?

Features of the VX1 Vapor Smoothing System for Polymers

ASM’s VX1 system is intended to address first and foremost the need to achieve an accurate surface finish of polymer parts made with powder bed fusion. After depowdering, these parts often remain in a raw state, and do not have the desired appearance. Surface smoothing thus increases the value of these parts, transforming them into finished products.

Looking at the technical features, the machine has a compact design (measuring 450x650x1100 mm) and a chamber with a recommended build volume of 180 x 220 x 350 mm, or 13.5 liters, and maxing out at 24.6 liters. This is certainly a plus, as it provides the ability to process medium to large workpieces. For example, the machine is suitable for both small SLS printers and large-scale industrial applications. In addition, according to the manufacturer, the machine is simple to operate and easy to set up, giving the user the ability to select the desired level of surface smoothing.

In terms of materials, the VX1 is currently compatible with PA12. Compatibility with other materials, like PA11, TPU and PP polymers, will be introduced later this year.

TPU before (left) and after (right) being treated with the VX1

The solution is also quite fast, with a cycle time of 1.5 to 2 hours at most. Furthermore, ASM’s focus on reducing the machine’s environmental impact is of note as the VX1 uses an FDA-approved, food-grade, eco-friendly treatment agent. In addition, the system operates with reusable cartridges, thus reducing waste and saving money.

ASM Launches a Benchmarking Program and Will Present VX1 at Rapid.Tech 3D

For early customers interested in testing the machine, ASM has launched a benchmarking program during which customers can send their parts to the company. These parts will be processed with the VX1 and then returned to the sender free of charge.

All industries that use polymer additive manufacturing solutions could benefit from the solution, including automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, medical devices, to name a few. ASM also points out that the VX1 vapor smoothing solution for polymers is a cost-effective solution by offering an easy-to-use, fast and economically attractive alternative to other available 3D printing surface treatment solutions.

Customers who have already tried the machine highlight its offered surface quality, which allows for well-smoothed and sealed surfaces. “With the VX1, we achieve significant added value for our customers in the finishing of prototypes and small series, as reproducibility is achieved with parameters that are individually tailored to the product” commented Maurice Scheer, CEO of 3D-LABS GmbH. 

Preservation of detail sharpness during surface smoothing

For those who would like to experience ASM’s VX1 vapor smoothing solution for themselves, the company will be doing a live demonstration of the machine at the Rapid.Tech 3D event (Hall 2 / 2-201) in Erfurt, Germany, May 14-16. In the meantime, the solution is already available through selected resellers. For more information, check out ASM’s website HERE.   

What do you think of the VX1? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel. 

*All Photo Credits: ASM GmbH 

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Updated
Every wednesday, receive a recap of the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox.