To say that WASP likes to think big is a bit of an understatement. The Italian company has become known for their giant 3D printers and the big ideas that come with them. Last time we checked in with them, they were getting set to 3D print an entire village – no big deal. Unfortunately, printing big inevitably means spending big, and that doesn’t mesh well with WASP’s philosophy of a “maker economy,” which promotes self-sufficiency, particularly in the world’s poorest areas. Luckily, WASP wouldn’t have gotten as far as they have without being resourceful and inventive, and they’ve now developed a new printer that is not only cost-effective but customizable.
One of the biggest costs that comes from 3D printing large objects or large quantities is filament. A 1kg spool of filament, WASP points out, costs about €30 on average, which seriously adds up when you’re printing things like furniture or structural elements. However, that same amount of material in pellet form only costs about €3. As is the case with so many products, it’s the processing and not the raw material that drives up the price of filament – but, unless you have your own filament extruder, you’re pretty much stuck paying for someone else to convert those pellets into printer-friendly strands. WASP’s new DeltaWasp Pellet, a 3-meter-high printer, features an extruder that uses PLA pellets rather than filament, drastically cutting the cost of each print job.
The Pellet’s extruder also has a nozzle between 4 and 10 mm in diameter, allowing massive print jobs that would normally take days to print in a matter of hours. The Pellet can process 10 kg of material within 8 hours, and its open source design can be modified to fit different applications.
“Since the beginning WASP has been interested in self production of relief goods. So WASP’s development and innovation have been proceed in that direction,” said WASP owner Massimo Moretti. “A good printer, accurate and speedy, able to print a product rendering is an interesting result for the Industrial field and Design World, but a printer that could make directly the final product could be utilized in digital handcraft and other jobs. These are the bases of what we named Maker Economy.”
While the DeltaWasp Pellet isn’t going to be printing any villages, at least not at this time, it’s ideal for 3D printing furniture, according to WASP, who states that they are looking to print items that are useful but also fashionable. As part of the printer’s development, WASP enlisted a team of designers from the academic field, particularly professors and recent graduates. A variety of furniture was prototyped using the Pellet, but the team’s current focus has turned to chairs thanks to the work of a design intern named Giulio Buscaroli, who took the company’s experimental models and turned them into functional works of art.
“We are very proud of our results and we expect further evolution,” said Moretti. “We’re materializing a new model of development based on common knowledge.”
The DeltaWasp Pellet will be commercially available in the near future, and WASP has expressed interest in getting the printer into FabLabs for the production of customized furniture. Below, you can see a time-lapse video of a Pellet printing one of WASP’s new line of stylized chairs. Discuss in the DeltaWasp Pellet 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.