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Hans Fouche & South Africa’s I Makers Lab Collaborate, Put Cheetah 3D Printer to the Test for Industrial Designs

Metal Parts Produced
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Fouche enjoying some R&R in a hammock inside the Cheetah 2 3D printer.

There are numerous large-scale 3D printers within the industry currently gaining traction, but I dare you to find one that’s offered up a more interesting resume already than that of the Cheetah 3D printer by Hans Fouche. While his passion today is obviously 3D printing and the construction of the hardware on a massive scale, a sense of gifted art and design—even sometimes a bit zany, a bit surreal—has seeped in from the beginning.

Gaining attention worldwide with his 3D printed lawnmower, and probably in his neighborhood too, the designer and manufacturer began his journey in showing us the power of his unique machine, fed by ABS granules and offering a build size of one cubic meter. In just nine hours, the creator of the Cheetah was able to print out the parts for his lawnmower, with the exception of the motor.

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The 3D printed lawnmower design that started it all…

And practically before we’d had time to digest the genius of that, along came the 3D printed vacuum cleaner with a body in the shape of a vase—causing us to take pause and wonder why we hadn’t inserted such aesthetics into our housecleaning previously. It was just to be the beginning of such wonderments, however, as Fouche wasn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, and soon also brought us more from his huge 3D printer, from the simplest tools like a 3D printed car jack, to fashion such as stylish 3D printed high-heeled wedge shoes, and then another showstealer: the 3D printed acoustic guitar.

“We know that we have a unique product. We hope and trust that it will provide jobs, change the way that products are manufactured- small batches that require less storage, and that it will inspire creativity,” says Fouche.

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3D printed pillars on display at Decorex.

Forging ahead with enviable persistence, both Fouche and his Cheetah 3D printer continue to make history within the 3D printing space. The latest project is definitely more expansive, and shows the merging of the maker and the more serious art world, in a collaboration with the I Makers Lab at the Makers Village Irene. Here, working with one of the lab’s artists, Sam, they were able to answer the call for makers’ contributions at Decorex Joburg 2016, held earlier in August.

The local expo has featured the works of these artists previously, but this year they were able to put the Cheetah to the test in producing some incredible pieces for exhibition. The overall idea, according to Fouche in his press release, is to turn the 3D prints available from the Cheetah into stunning products that will also show off the technology in general, benefiting everyone all around.

On display first were some beautifully designed and fabricated 3D printed pillars. Fouche pointed out in his latest press release that they took nine hours to print in total. While lovely from an artistic point of view, they could obviously offer some potential in the construction, home accents space as well. And (see below) for all of you that have a thing for bar stools—whether sitting on them or decorating with them—you might enjoy the (ahem!) clever enhancements made there too.

During this partnership, they also produced over-sized bottles, and some other pieces inspired by iconic visuals. The 3D printed art is solid, colorful, and not only inspiring, but inviting. And Fouche believes his latest work really shows what the hardware he’s worked so hard to create and refine can truly produce.

“This shows that the Cheetah with a price of just $9900 US dollars, and the fact that it prints with cheap granules, is clearly a market leader cost wise, and with its one cubic meter print volume, it is the bargain of the big 3D printer world,” states Fouche.

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While there are many features and benefits to focus on with the Cheetah, its use of granules definitely stands out in comparison to traditional machines and filaments, as well the cost factor, allowing for less than than $4/kg. Nozzles are a big conversation surrounding the benefits and use of the Cheetah as well. Fouche states that they usually employ a 3mm nozzle for a 0.5 kg\hour flow rate, but the nozzles are also available in sizes ranging from 1mm to 6 mm.

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While he may have just begun attracting attention with the Cheetah last year, Fouche has been enjoying 3D printing in one form or another for nearly 20 years. With their 3D printer, Fouche and his team have experienced an accelerated growth in both production and creativity, obviously, with the recent project serving as prime evidence. Discuss all of this further over in the Cheetah 3D Printer forum at 3DPB.com.

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