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This year’s formnext wrapped up last week in Frankfurt, and many companies were there to showcase their latest products, including Colossus, a multinational 3D printing startup based in Belgium. At the trade fair, the startup introduced its aptly named Colossus 3D printer, which it calls the largest and first fully integrated transportable 3D printer in the world. The Colossus was built with flexibility in mind – it’s easy to add on features and upgrade it, and the transportable 3D printer works as a fixed unit as well.

Yannick Aerts, CTO of Colossus, said, “We wanted to build a printing system that really adjusts to our customer needs, so making it as transportable and upgradeable as possible was a main priority.”

Everything on the Colossus, from extruder output and screw types to heated bed, software add-ons, and print volume, is configurable, which makes the system a good fit for a wide variety of industry applications.

The Colossus, with a 4 m³ build volume, is able to support impressively fast print speeds of up to 15 kg an hour, and was designed with what the startup says is “a special accent on materials for furniture, construction applications and large size 3D objects.”

Thanks to the startup’s partnership with the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC), ten material compound profiles have been pre-tested on the Colossus, and it’s the first 3D printer of its scale to print with rPET and rPP profiles. Additionally, it can also print with recycled plastic materials.

“Young designers often lack partners to realize their ideas due to the high entry barriers in this market,” said Philippe Mérillet, the Co-Founder of Colossus. “Clients also requested a way to make furniture and other large-scale objects from plastic waste, so we searched the market and a large-scale printer and everything we found was either too slow, too expensive, or could not work with high-temperature materials like rPET or CarbonP which are difficult to extrude. So we decided to develop a printer that would do just that a made for materials.”

After research showed that these kinds of massive, cost-effective 3D printers just aren’t readily available, Colossus had a vision to make a cost-effective, fast 3D printing platform that could also provide a second life to plastic waste. The 2.67 x 1 x 1.5 m Colossus 3D printer features a 3200 x 1300 mm liquid heated bed for easy print removal, along with a granulate-fed extruder print head and a dehumidification unit for achieving better print quality.

“Half of the quality of a print is the state of the material which is why we have a fully integrated drying unit to prep your material so you can get the most out of your print,” Colossus wrote in a release. “Capable of temperatures of up to 400C gives you the flexibility to print almost any plastic material.”

The Colossus 3D printer comes with logging software, in addition to remote connectivity and internet debugging with data points and cameras, so problems can be solved and upgrades can be completed remotely in real-time. The startup provides training, along with contracts for service and maintenance, so customers should feel at ease that the Colossus can run 24/7.

Additional tech specs for the Colossus 3D printer include:

  • Safety glass window
  • Heater
  • Optional air conditioner
  • 1-10 nozzle sizes

The Colossus is adaptable to specific customer requirements and has a fully customizable exterior. There are different lighting and flooring options, and the size of the extruder, window, and dryer can all be changed. You can even order the 3D printer with an extra cooling nozzle. As with most large scale, high throughput 3D printers (3D Printed Canal House, Dirk van der Kooij, etc.) the nozzle has been designed and made by Servan Bakker of Xtrution.

Now that the Colossus 3D printer, which is available for pre-order, has been formally introduced at formnext, the startup plans to improve upon the design and has already completed a prototype. The team is currently researching more options for the system, such as improve retraction, a multi-head system, and a higher print output of up to 25 kg per hour.

What do you think of this new 3D printer? Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 

[Images provided by Colossus]
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