It was less than three years ago that Croatia-based Darko Strojevi released their first 3D printer, a high-speed, high-precision machine followed shortly by a prototype, created in collaboration with another Croatian company, for a massive printer with a build area of 5000 x 2500 x 2000 mm, designed to print electric cars.
Since then, Darko Strojevi has been all about big 3D printers – really big ones. Now the company has plans for a new line of printers aptly named DRAGON, because these machines are going to be large beasts. The plan is to develop several printers with build sizes ranging from 400 x 400 x 400 mm to 2000 x 2000 x 2000 mm, with each size going up in 200mm increments (with even larger build sizes available at customer request).
Darko Strojevi plans to introduce the first printer in the DRAGON line through a Kickstarter campaign sometime in the next three months. The first machine has a build volume of 1200 x 1200 x 800 mm and is composed of three separate gantries with two double print heads, allowing for the simultaneous printing of multiple objects or the printing of extremely large objects at three times the speed of a single-head 3D printer.
Like the rest of the printers to eventually be released in the DRAGON line, the initial printer is a multi-functional, multi-material machine with interchangeable toolheads. Each double head can be swapped out to allow for the printing of numerous materials from conductive filament to clay to chocolate. Additional tools such as laser cutters, CNC routers or screwdrivers can also be attached. The machine will also be able to print with pellets.
The DRAGON can also be fully transformed into a three- or five-axis CNC machine, capable of machining wood, aluminum, plastic or any other nonferrous material. In addition, each gantry can be turned into a five-axis Cartesian robot for pick-and-place applications or other industrial functions. Eventually, the company plans to integrate an automatic welding seam tracking subsystem.
Darko Strojevi was formed by Darko Gojanović, who spent several years in the United States working in management positions for companies including Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and Intel. Upon returning to the Croatian island of Zlarin, he began working with robotics and developing CNC machinery. Then he discovered 3D printing.
“I always buy the most modern gadgets that can track the latest technology, so I…bought two 3D printers and started to draw up realizing that this printer is essentially very similar to the milling machine, which I have already developed, also on Zlarin,” Gojanović said in a 2014 interview. “Simply I immediately realized that this was a great opportunity…”
With the help of multi-talented Goran Jeličić, Gojanović began investigating the fabrication of 3D printers, working with kits at first and quickly moving forward to designing and building their own printers for the market. This was the start of Darko Strojevi, and since then the company has been growing steadily – as have their 3D printers, which are getting bigger and bigger in size.
Gojanović’s expertise in CNC and robotics are evident in the development of the first DRAGON 3D printer, which joins the growing trend towards “all in one” fabrication machines that combine 3D printing, CNC machining, and other technology. The DRAGON line of printers will be equipped with industrial strength tools, and will continually be updated as the company adds new functions to it.
The first DRAGON 3D printer is expected to be priced at €40,000. We’ll keep you updated as to when the Kickstarter campaign will launch, and you can also contact the company at [email protected] for more information. In the meantime, you can get a first look at the DRAGON in action in the video below:
Discuss in the DRAGON forum at 3DPB.com.
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