Additional work on non-planar 3D printing shows us that it may be useful for transparent displays and optics, can be done using existing robot arms, and thanks to Grasshopper and a Slic3r plugin there is even software for it. The combination of non-planar printing with microstructures, gradients, multiple materials and lattices could make FDM an even more versatile technology.
Now nonplanar.xyz hopes to make non-planar 3D printing much more widespread. The company was started by Gabriel Boutin who worked on the Kupol helmet we’ve written about before. Getting your current FDM printer to print non-planar is actually quite complex as you can see from this awesome video below. It also illustrates the results one can get.
“I have been looking for the magic bullet among all the additive manufacturing technologies for the last few years. Like most of us, I was captivated by the brand new and expensive machines. They are capable of amazing results but are they value creation tools?Being part of the NFL helmet challenge to create the most protective helmet ever created, I have screened all the possibilities for manufacturing unique lattices I have created for Kupol Inc.”
“I have always disregarded FDM, thinking it was not a real manufacturing process. I was completely wrong. The solution was to push the boundaries of FDM to use its full potential, meaning non–planar paths. It was a scary thing at first because I did not have any knowledge of programming. Nevertheless, I have investigated Rhino Grasshopper to see if a guy like me could succeed in printing a non–planar shape. And I just did it.”
“Non–planar printing is in fact a workflow that you design or adaptt to the product you want to create. There will never be a single solution for everything because it requires intent. If you want to create an insole for example, you need to define what you want the product to look like and how to achieve this. Once you have invested time into your ”design”, you can use it to print similar shapes and therefore you open the door to custom products at scale.”
I have selected the Ender3 for a simple reason, it was dirt cheap and easy to modify. There are other DIY printers on the market that could be very good choices too. I expect nonplanar.xyz to offer compatible nozzles for those other choices in the very near future.It is now time to leave the surface!
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