When it comes to 3D printers which utilize fused deposition modelling techniques, there are really only two main setups for such machines. One is the Cartesian-based way of printing, using x, y, and z coordinates to determine the precise location for plastic deposition. The other is based on a delta robot setup, where you will have an extruder attached to 3 arms, controlled by movements which originate at the base of the printer. Printers built around both setups have their respective benefits and downfalls.
One of the main issues around both delta and Cartesian-based platforms is that the extruders have to deposit the material from above. This means that deposition lines will always be present in your fabrications, and you will be somewhat limited in the build process.
One London-based company hopes to change this all with the introduction of their new 5-axis machine, called the 5AXISMAKER. The machine which is capable of utilizing several different attachments, which include a 3D printer extruder, CNC mill, wire cutter, waterjet, touchprobe and additional extensions to be added later on, will begin its drive to raise £70,000 via Kickstarter tomorrow.
We have seen multi-purpose manufacturing machines before, but this one steps outside the box, with 5 axes, offering unprecedented versatility compared to the common 3-axis platforms on the market today.
“For me it seems that at the moment the weakest aspect of extruding-type (FDM) 3D printers is the surface finish you get,” stated a company representative. “Regardless of the shape you print, it is always striated horizontally, and no matter how fine one can make the stepping, I think it will be obvious just because of the nature of the filament deposition system. A 5 axis printer, in my view, could finish a print by laying a texture or a pattern over the surface of the model. It could be possible to utilize the aesthetics of filament to actually create some pretty cool surface effects.”
The machine aims to be an entire manufacturing facility, condensed into a small box, and that it certainly comes close to. Below you will find the general specifications of the 5AXISMAKER:
- Cutting Volume: 400 x 400 x 400mm (16 x 16 x 16 in) (Can be customized quite easily)
- Machine Size:600 x 600 x 600mm (24 x 24 x 24 in) (Can be customized quite easily)
- Enclosure Box: 800 x 800 x 800mm (31 x 31 x 31 in)
- Speed C,B Axis: 20rmp for both
- Machine Weight: 30kg
The company aims to begin shipping their machines starting in April of next year, with the earliest backers having the opportunity to pre-order the 5AXISMAKER for just £4,499, which includes all the tool extensions. The company has developed their own open source Grasshopper script which will allow for the programming of the 5axis machine, however, if they reach a stretch goal of £300,000 on Kickstarter, they will develop their very own standalone software package.
Let us know your thoughts on this new machine, and have your questions answered by the company’s founders in the 5AXISMAKER forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of the machine in action: