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FAQ

Mounting

As long as your substrate can be mounted firmly and securely, the maximum substrate size is ~39 cm (15”) in the y-axis, and unconstrained in the x-axis. While the accessible print area and mounting area is approximately 8”x11”, the Voltera NOVA is open on the sides to allow an arbitrarily large substrate in the X-axis (as long as it is supported well). In the Y-axis, the substrate size is constrained to the area behind the sensor plate.
The maximum travel distance between the gantry and the mounting plate is 40mm. However, the maximum substrate height/thickness will also depend on the tool configuration. For example, if you select a long Luer syringe tip, you will need to account for the additional travel distance.

Dispensing

Any Luer-tapered nozzle that is shorter than ~30mm can be used with the dispenser module. We recommend using either Voltera or Subrex brand nozzles (available through Voltera), which have diameters down to 50um. Other brands of nozzles (not supplied by Voltera) are not guaranteed to provide high-quality prints, as each will have its own geometry, pressure, and particle size requirements. We generally recommend starting with our 150um nozzles when using a new material.
On the V-One, sometimes ink leaks around the piston. We call this problem 'piston rupture'. It can happen when the ink cartridge barrel deforms because of the dispenser sheath, so applying force to the piston will break the seal in the cartridge. This can affect the print quality because dispensing on the V-One is entirely open-loop displacement-based dispensing, so any situation where ink can leak backwards will affect the desired flow rate of the ink.
On NOVA, we've already addressed this problem in a few ways:
  • Cartridges are not constrained as tightly as they are in the V-One, so the syringe barrel doesn't deform.
  • The plunger design is different, and applies pressure more evenly around the piston.
  • NOVA's dispenser module has an in-line pressure sensor, so the displacement adjusts automatically to maintain the correct flow rate.
In general, use a nozzle that is shorter than 30mm for the dispensing tip.
The limiting factor for the nozzle length is the distance from the bottom of the pressure sensor (when installed) to the top of the XYZ positioner.
NOVA uses Luer lock nozzles, which means that any nozzle will have a Luer hub. The size and length of this Luer hub varies, but is typically around 20mm. With the Luer hub added, your nozzle (end-to-end) should be no longer than 50mm.
For a typical 35°C target temperature, the dispenser will typically take about 2-3 minutes to heat up. The heating rate for the smart dispenser between 30°C to 35°C is about 2.8°C per minute.

NOVA's capabilities

NOVA's launch version includes a dramatically more powerful compute module. While our beta hardware is based on the RPi 3B+, we've upgraded NOVA's brain to run on the NVIDIA Jetson platform. Along with a 100x improvement in baseline calculation performance (473 GFLOPS vs. 5.3 GFLOPS) for faster toolpath processing, the new compute module is also AI-enabled with a built-in NVIDIA GPU, which we plan to leverage for all kinds of enhancements. The new compute module is at least 100x times more powerful, illustrated by the following benchmarks:RPi 3B+ 5.3 GFLOPS (max performance)Nvidia Jetson Nano 473 GFLOPS (max performance)

Connection

Customers who use secure WIFI networks, such as NASA, use a mobile hotspot. These can be purchased affordably, and broadcast a WIFI network connected to LTE. That way, there’s no downtime and NOVA never connects directly to your secure network.

Helpful Reference Dimensions:

Distance from bottom of the camera to top of the vacuum table: ~60.6 mm