The maker movement is clearly in full swing. With 3D printing traversing the landscape, bringing creative personal manufacturing to a user’s fingertips at prices unimaginable just a few years ago. Other computerized manufacturing processes are also becoming much more affordable. CNC milling enables subtractive manufacturing at resolutions oftentimes as precise as that of its additive manufacturing counterpart. Combined, the two technologies enable a thorough manufacturing ecosystem.
Earlier this year, a man named Aldric Negrier create what he called Buildersbot. Basically it was a compact machine which merged both 3D printing and CNC milling. The design was open source, and details on how to create the machine were made available by Negrier on Instructables.
The future of the maker movement will likely see all kinds of interesting new ways to manufacture at home. The Buildersbot is certainly not the only machine which will allow for multiple functions within a manufacturing process. In fact, Luminar, a Nampa, Idaho based company, led by a man named John Rule, is about to one-up the Buildersbot.
Within days, they will be unveiling their TriBot, 3-in-1 3D printer, CNC milling machine, and inject molder on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The machine is quite capable, with Luminar giving an example of how all three features can be used during a manufacturing process.
For instance, one may decide to prototype a toy football via the 3D printing function. Once prototyped, and the design is perfected, they can then use the CNC milling machine to mill out the a perfect mold, based on the design of the 3D print. Once completed the machine will inject plastic into the molds, and allow for the mass production of that 3D printed prototype. TriBot is a complete manufacturing system which can easily fit in a small garage or workstation.
Below you will find the basic specifications of each function of the TriBot machine:
- Build Area (Inches): 11 x 5 x 9
- Filament Size/Type: 3mm PLA
- Included Nozzle Sizes: .35mm, .5mm and 1mm
- XYZ Travel: 11” x 5” x 9”
- Table/Mounting: Cast iron table with 3 T-slots for fixture mounting
- Spindle Taper: R8 standard
- Capacity: Drilling 1/2” and Milling 1/2”
- Steppers: NEMA 23 Stepper driven 3 axis motion, 1/8 step 24 v dc power supply
- Shot Size: 0 to 4cc
- Filament Types: PLA, ABS, POLYPROPYLENE, POLYETHYLENE and more
- Cavities Per Inject Cycle: One or More
- Vary Cavity Fill Volumes?: Yes, can setup for multiple cavities of the same or different fill volumes
- Temp. Control: Digital PIC temperature controller
The TriBot is not a machine meant to be placed in an office or living room. It belongs in a workshop or a garage. As for the price, it will retail at $9,950, however, for those looking to back the machine on Kickstarter, the first 8 backers will receive nearly a 50% discount. This means they will be able to take advantage of a price of just $4,999. After that, all other Kickstarter backers will be able to pick the machine up for $7,699. The first TriBot machines will begin shipping in the beginning of 2015, according to the company.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this new 3-in-1 machine in the TriBot forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below, showing off the machine’s functions.