Software Updates, Partnerships, a New President and the MOARstruder: Big News from Aleph Objects and LulzBot at CES 2017
While CES 2017 previews and special events have been going on all week, the largest technology trade show in the US didn’t officially open until today – and now that it has, the news floodgates are open. Companies are unveiling new hardware, software, business news, or, in the case of Aleph Objects, creator of the popular LulzBot 3D printers, all of the above. The Colorado 3D printer manufacturer can be counted on to introduce some exciting things at trade shows. Their last major release was the TAZ 6 3D printer, introduced last May at RAPID 2016, and as CES 2017 opens, Aleph and LulzBot haven’t disappointed.
First of all, Aleph Objects announced some big changes within the company as Vice President of Marketing Harris Kenny has been promoted to the role of President of the company, replacing in that role current CEO and founder Jeff Moe, who will remain involved in the company’s daily operations. Kenny joined the company in January of 2014 as Communications Manager, then moved into the position of Marketing Manager and finally Vice President of Marketing. Prior to that, he worked in management and ERP consulting after receiving an MBA from the University of Denver Daniels College of Business and a BA in Economics from Pepperdine University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA).
“This company is changing the world,” Kenny said. “Our team is ready to continue scaling up, serving users, engaging the community, and exploring the frontier of Free Software, Libre Innovation, and Open Source Hardware.”
Chief Operating Officer Steven Abadie will also be given an expanded role. Abadie is the longest-tenured employee in the company, having joined in 2011 after working as an artist, instructor, and early RepRap developer. He received an MFA from the University of Georgia and BA in Visual Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University, and contributed to the book Building Open Source Hardware by Alicia Gibb.
“In 2017 we plan to further prove that manufacturing can not only be achieved but flourish with Free Software, Libre Innovation, and Open Source Hardware,” Abadie said. “We will further integrate our manufacturing and supply chain operations into a world-class Free Software Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) through collaboration with the Odoo Community Association (OCA).”
In other news, LulzBot is introducing some new hardware. The open source company is known for their wide variety of extruders and toolheads, and the newest addition to the collection is the LulzBot TAZ MOARstruder Tool Head, a high-output tool head that features an extra-long heater block, dual print cooling fans, and a 1.2 mm diameter nozzle. Like LulzBot’s other extruders, the MOARstruder hardware is compatible with third-party filaments and can be easily mounted on the modular tool head carriage with a single screw and a plug for a fast upgrade.
“The LulzBot TAZ MOARstruder Tool Head enables high speed and high strength 3D prints, with the robustness and reliability that users expect from the LulzBot platform,” Kenny said. “This tool head is ideal for prototyping in labs, offices, classrooms, libraries, and workshops.”
The MOARstruder is capable of printing 100 grams (0.22 lbs.) of material per hour, with layers of 0.3 mm to 1.2 mm thick, and quickprint profiles will be available in Cura LulzBot Edition. Like everything else LulzBot offers, the extruder is completely open source, and the files can be found here. It will be available in the first quarter of 2017. Check out the MOARstruder in action below:
Speaking of Cura, Aleph Objects also announced the publication of the alpha version of Cura 2 (LulzBot Edition). The current version of Cura, now in version 21.03, has also been updated, and can be downloaded here.
“While our company is known for hardware products like LulzBot 3D printers, Aleph Objects is both a Free Software and a Open Source Hardware company,” said Kenny. “We are investing to improve the user’s experience with our own software and to advance the large and growing 3D modeling/design/printing ecosystem that respects user freedom.”
In addition, Aleph Objects has partnered with the Blender Institute, an avowed fan of LulzBot 3D printers, for the Blender 101 project, which will create a streamlined version of the Blender 3D creation suite that will make 3D modeling and design easier for less experienced users while continuing to prioritize user freedom. They’ll also be working with the Monkeyprint community to help advance the development of the free resin-based print control software by fixing bugs and adding new features.
Those aren’t the only partnerships Aleph Objects announced today. The company has a pending partnership with US electronics retailer Fry’s Electronics, which has 34 retail locations plus a large online store.
“Fry’s is known for offering its customers a wide variety of leading-edge tech products for home and office,” said Fry’s spokesman Manuel Valerio. “Fry’s is thrilled to add another such product line by carrying the LulzBot family of products in all our Stores and at Frys.com. We’re confident our customers will also be excited by this new offering.”
The news comes shortly after the announcement of a partnership between Aleph Objects and filament manufacturers Polymaker and twoBEars, which will expand the materials available for LulzBot printers. According to Aleph, more partnerships are in the works as well, with more details to be announced in the first quarter of 2017.
2017 is starting off on a great note for Aleph Objects, which was named the fastest-growing company in Northern Colorado by BizWest and the second-fastest-growing company in the state by Inc. Magazine for the second year in a row. If you’re at CES, you can visit Aleph and LulzBot at their booth in the 3D Printing Marketplace, Sands Expo, Level 2, Halls A-D, Booth #42524. Discuss in the LulzBot forum at 3DPB.com.
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