Nozzle and extruder maker Bondtech makes high quality components to improve your 3D printers´ hotends, heaters and print heads. A lot of companies would be annoyed when a YouTuber, MirageC made a video criticizing the way the main gear of Bondtech´s main shaft assembly performed. That main gear is a central part of many of Bondtech´s extruders such as the BMG, DDX and IFS lines. And MirageC complained about run out and wobbling which harmed the performance of the extruders. Instead of ignoring of deflecting these comments Bondtech responded by engaging with their community and using the feedback to improve their gears using a thermoplastic component and better tolerances. I’m not sure if the component POM (acetal), Igus Iguldur or PA but its probably one of those. This is fantastic. It really harkens back to a previous era when we all together created products based on user feedback. Sadly I think that the heady era of open source community innovation may have passed us by. But, individual companies who have good reputations could still harness community innovation and gain an edge through improving their products.
Freeform Future Corp unveiled is slight indication of its technology for us. The California based company is trying to revolutionize powder bed fusion through improving build speeds by 25 to 50 times. The team says that it can now print 5 kilos of material an hour using 18 lasers. What’s more a conveyor system moves around builds out from continuously operating lasers continually. The builds are then taken to be finished and recoated elsewhere. In that way the company is thinking out of the box through making the entire 3D printing operation take place across a factory. Its similar to TNO´s racetrack approach for vat polymerization only adapted to metal powder bed fusion. The company aims to make the factories autonomous. I worry about fire. Process control overall would seem to be difficult. But, it could be that this is just a technical integration challenge rather than something really revolutionary which would make it easier to do. The team seems to have a lot of candle power and they´ve raised $45 million from Founders Fund, Threshold Ventures, Valor Equity Partners and others.
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