There are two technological trends that seem to compete in cycles: combining everything in one place for convenience, or splitting everything up for focused high quality. The new Piranha Fx is an all-in-one machine that hopes to be able to deliver the quality of the specialists. The company behind this product, Next Wave Automation, is hailing the unique creation as a Make Anything Machine that combines carving, engraving, and 3D printing all in one place.
This isn’t the first offering from Next Wave Automation – all with an aquatic theme, ranging from the CNC Shark to the Ready2Rout (trout…get it??) and they have developed a band of loyal followers. Those who weren’t already won over by the company may find themselves developing loyalty quickly.
The original Piranha offered by the company was a CNC machine designed for woodworkers. As anybody involved in the high tech maker movement knows, the variety of machinery (or toys) to be used can eventually occupy all available surface space, and also of course, all available funding. With that in mind, the Piranha’s designers started adding capabilities to the machine.
The Piranha Fx’s engraving module can either cut or engrave on flat goods ranging from paper to fabric. An appealing feature of this particular attachment is its ability to engrave already existing images (for example an old photograph) as well as to produce engravings from unique designs. Photographs or other imagery can be imported through the Vectric software included with the machine and sent directly to the laser by simply connecting your computer or a flash drive to the machine.
The 3D printing module has the same flexibility to produce original designs or to digitize already existing objects. The promise of such a flexible machine is appealing to a wide variety of craftspeople. The ability for those with a focused area of production to expand their capabilities combined with the reasonable price tag of the machine (under $3,000) may help to integrate multiple processes into the creative workflow.
To bring the creation from concept to market, the company has turned to Kickstarter and has already received a significant indication of interest from the public. The campaign is set for $75,000 and with 40 days still left in the fundraising period, they have already raised $36,996 toward that goal. This includes 10 backers who have already pledged the amount necessary to get the machine itself (a “complete maker arsenal”) as a reward.
It remains to be seen how this 3D printing machine stands up in comparison to other desktop 3D printers on the market. Given that this is the first foray this company has made into the 3D printing realm, there will likely be improvements that need to be made. However, given that this company has developed a reputation for delivery, that has earned them some loyal customers in the eight years since their founding, being in on the ground floor might offer opportunity to shape the future performance in a more direct way than is available for larger desktop printer manufacturers.
Let us know your thoughts on this new all-in-one machine. Discuss in the Piranha Fx forum thread on 3DPB.com.