The 3D printing industry is filled with crazy, yet innovative and groundbreaking ideas. Each day we see something new and exciting, and that’s why I thoroughly enjoy writing about the industry. One of the more interesting stories within the industry is the RepRap movement, aiming to 3D print 3D printers. The very idea sends chills down the spine of manufacturers worldwide. After all, if a 3D printer could 3D print another 3D printer, than all that’s needed for everyone on earth to have access to cheap manufacturing would be raw materials.
The RepRap movement has really been progressing rapidly. The whole idea behind RepRap has been to open source the information required, in order to 3D print the parts needed to create another 3D printer, with the ultimate goal being able to 3D print an entire working printer in one piece. Currently many of the parts of a typical RepRap printer can be printed, but pieces such as nuts, bolts, and other parts which connect all the 3D printed parts, still need to be purchased. RepRap enthusiasts have made tremendous strides over the last couple years, and each month new surprises come about, but this advancement coming from South Africa takes the cake so far.
A South African inventor and mechanical engineering named Hans Fouche, known for his 3D chocolate printers, has built an enormous 3D printer the size of a garage. The printer is capable of printing very large objects using ABS plastic, at speeds which are leaps and bounds ahead of other FDM printers. The machine is so large, that Fouche has been able to 3D print the entire frame of the RepRap Morgan in just three parts. Even more remarkable is the fact that such a large object took just over 7 hours to create. Keep in mind that it can take someone using a normal Makerbot style 3D printer, weeks to print out all the tiny parts needed to build the RepRap Morgan frame. Then it takes many more hours to just put all the pieces together, usually with parts which need to be purchased separately.
Fouche’s machine prints out very thick rope-like patterns from a 3 mm wide nozzle. Unlike traditional FDM printers, this machine can be fed ABS plastic granules instead of spools of filament, saving the user a lot of extra money. Because of the thickness of the layers, speed is greatly enhanced while resolution may take a back seat.
In additional to the large Reprap Morgan frame, Fouche has printed out a variety of other items, in a lot shorter of a time frame, when compared to basically every other FDM printer on the market. Below you will find some of the other incredible prints he has produced with his homemade machine. Fouche hopes to take this technology to the next level, commercializing it, and enabling manufacturers and hobbyists to take 3D printing up a notch. Discuss this giant 3d printer at the forum thread. Below are some of the additional items Fouche has been using his printer to create.
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