Bambu 3D Printer Killers: Peopoly Unveils the Magneto X with Magnetic Levitation

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Peopoly, a manufacturer of stereolithography (SLA) and masked SLA (mSLA), has entered into the material extrusion space with the launch of Magneto X. This desktop fused filament fabrication (FFF) system is priced at $1,999, with shipping expected to begin in mid-November. What sets the Magneto X apart from other FFF printers is its MagXY motion control system, which employs a magnetic linear motor in the XY stages.

While precision levitation motion is not new—Beckhoff’s high-end planar machine comes to mind—it is typically found in more expensive machinery. Comparable equipment, like Hiwin’s dual-axis linear stages are also primarily featured in high-end machines. The cost of these sophisticated motion systems alone can range widely, from $700 to upwards of $5,000, depending on their feature set.

It’s quite an achievement for Peopoly to include such advanced features in an accessible 3D printer like this. The unit boasts a movement accuracy of 3um, and the maximum print speed is reported to be 200mm/s with a layer height of 0.1mm. The printer can reach a travel speed of up to 1500mm/s. For the Z-axis, the company has chosen a setup involving four linear rails along with lead screws.

Featuring a build volume of 400 x 300 x 300 mm, the printer features an aluminum build plate that’s paired with a flexible PEI (ULTEM) build cover. The device also includes load cell-based auto-leveling, and customers have the option to purchase it either without an enclosure or with side and/or top enclosures. The hot end temperature maxes out at 300C and comes equipped with a copper and steel nozzle as well as three cooling fans.

Under the hood, the machine runs on an Orange Pi Zero 2 H616 ARM board and a BTT Octopus Pro 1.1 H712 control board. An IPS touchscreen serves as the interface, and the system runs on Klipper firmware. Additional features include a built-in camera and a nozzle with a variable-length melt zone.

The company is optimistic that its advanced motion control system will offer enhanced repeatability, reduced ringing, and aesthetically superior printed parts. Additionally, users can expect to benefit from less frequent maintenance and calibration, as belt tension becomes a non-issue. As of today, the printer is available for order and will also be showcased at the East Coast RepRap Festival. Intriguingly, the printer comes with a feature described as a “Holographic Cube for displaying Gcode’s 3D shape,” though the specifics of this feature are not yet clear.

The Magneto X certainly presents itself as a sophisticated system, appearing both well-finished and high-grade. While its performance over the long term remains to be seen, this type of offering is something I’m personally excited about and hope to see more of in the industry. The value proposition has undeniably evolved over the past 5 to 10 years; if the Magneto X performs as intended, it demonstrates just how much more one can get for their money today.

It’s also interesting to consider the Magneto X as a potential competitor to Bambu Lab’s machines, which have set new standards in 3D printing through software capabilities and rapid print speeds. Bambu achieved this primarily by leveraging vibration compensation and deep software expertise. But what if a company wants to compete with Bambu without investing heavily in a software ecosystem? This is where the Magneto X comes into play.

By focusing on innovative hardware setups, Peopoly aims to challenge Bambu in the realm of professional desktop material extrusion systems. The Magneto X appears to offer an alternative path to excellence, one based on hardware innovation rather than software prowess.

The question of consumer preference in this context is indeed compelling. For home users, the choice between Bambu’s software-driven experience and a high-spec, hardware-focused system like the Magneto X is not straightforward. Each offers its own set of advantages, and the decision could hinge on a user’s specific needs or comfort level with technology.

For businesses, the calculus may differ. Some companies might appreciate not being tied to Bambu’s online tools and could favor a system that offers robust hardware capabilities. The freedom to operate outside a specific software ecosystem could be a significant draw.

Open-source enthusiasts present another interesting angle. While they may naturally lean toward printers that don’t require a cloud solution, it’s also possible they’d be attracted to systems that align more closely with open-source philosophies.

Ultimately, the market will reveal what various consumer segments value most, be it software depth, hardware prowess, or a particular blend of both.

Overall, the arrival of the Magneto X is an exciting development in the 3D printing landscape. This isn’t just another Prusa with a new screen; it’s a machine that encapsulates several emerging trends. From the incorporation of new boards and Klipper firmware to innovative motion control systems, the Magneto X is a glimpse into the future of what 3D printing can offer. The departure from traditional belt and rod architectures suggests a system that may not only be cleaner but also capable of sustaining high speeds for extended periods. I’m eager to see if the Magneto X lives up to its promise and delivers on its potential.

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