Much of the progress we have seen within the desktop 3D printing market can be attributed to the open source movement within. Without the openness which launched companies like MakerBot, and Aleph Objects, innovation would likely have been stifled by a land grab for the patents which allow for many of these more affordable desktop printers to function.
While some companies have been taken public, forcing them to capitalize on their brand, and driving them to protect the R&D they have performed via patents, other companies remain just as open as when they first started. One such company is Aleph Objects, along with their LulzBot brand of 3D printers. You may think that a company which uses only open source technology may not offer a product as advanced as others, however, I assure you from personal experience, that their 3D printers are very capable and probably some of the best value for the dollar out there.
LulzBot recently launched a new 3D printer kit in the LulzBot KITTAZ, however, a recent post on Fabbaloo got us wondering if another printer may be about to come down the pipe as well. Because of LulzBot’s dedication to being a completely open company, all of their R&D work is published online for everyone to see. It appeared that they had been working on a new machine, code named ‘Begonia’, so we reached out to the company for clarification.
“In addition to released products, our research and development directory is publicly accessible and updated every thirty minutes to share our ideas with the community. From end users to developers, many people around the world follow, learn from, and contribute to our work so we can all advance 3D printing technology together,” explained Harris Kenny from Aleph Objects to 3DPrint.com.
So, what exactly is Begonia, and what are LulzBot’s future plans for it? Instead of having to come to conclusions which may or may not have been true, we did something which is unheard of… asked the company! If you do ever happen to email Aleph Objects you will find, like we have, that their support is outstanding, friendly, and extremely informed about the industry in general.
In a discussion we had with Kenny, he pointed out that indeed the 3D printer you see above is “very similar to what Aleph Objects’ next major product introduction will look like.” The exact name of the printer, upon release, has yet to be decided upon, however, it will likely launch sometime this winter.
“The overall goal of the product is that it is complementary to the LulzBot TAZ at a lower price point for entry level consumers,” Kenny told us. “The LulzBot TAZ will retain versatility and capabilities that Begonia will not have.”
Although a spec sheet is not yet available, the company was kind enough to provide us with a list of available features that this new ‘Begonia’ 3D printer will include. They are as follows:
- FFF Technology
- Automated bed leveling (engineered with help from SparkFun Electronics),
- Automated nozzle cleaning
- All metal hot end (higher temps for more materials, designed with RepRap Discount)
- Open / non-proprietary filament (of course)
- Aluminum frame/body
- Mini RAMBo (designed with Ultimachine)
- ~6″x6″ heated borosilicate glass bed with ~6″ in Z
- 100% Libre / Open Source Hardware (including firmware)
The machine will be priced south of their flagship LulzBot TAZ 4 printer, which is currently retailing at $2194.95. Just how far south is anyone’s guess. So, in conclusion it seems that yes, LulzBot will have a new 3D printer released within a matter of months, it will be more affordable, smaller than their main line of printers, but packed with some awesome features. Feel free to discuss this upcoming device within the LulzBot Begonia forum thread on 3DPB.com. Oh… and apparently they also have been working on an LCD add-on to this printer as well:
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