Nearly two years ago, a small company based in Austin Texas called re:3D launched a very large 3D printer on Kickstarter. Called the Gigabot, this machine wasn’t only large in size, but also feature rich. Able to build objects which were up to 30 times that of traditional desktop 3D printers at the time, the price was anything but traditional. Starting at just $2,500, backers of their crowdfunding campaign were able to get a fully-loaded kit to construct this behemoth of a machine.
Fast forward approximately 2 years, and now re:3D has decided to take things to the next level. This week, coinciding with the SXSW festival and conferences, they’ve launched yet another Kickstarter campaign, this time for the Open Gigabot, a 2015 concept 3D Printer.
What re:3D is trying to accomplish with this latest project, is to create a large-scale ‘human-size’ 3D printer that’s entirely open source, with a design which is spawned from the Gigabot and Kickstarter communities.
“Working with the re:3D community has provided great feedback about the workflow of Gigabot users,” states the company. “We’ve learned what users love and what they’d like to see improved upon. With this in mind, we are re-imagining the user experience from the ground up.”
‘Re-imagining’ may be an understatment. This latest planned device will have all of the following features:
- Open Hardware – Modular frame constructed out of aluminum, power and data ports exposed, and additional headers for other possible hacks.
- Open Software – Writen in Python, fully documented, and most importantly, able to be ‘hacked’ to your own desire.
- Gigantic Scale – Build envelope of 24 x 24 x 20 inches, while being able to fit through the standard door frame.
- Touchscreen Graphical User Interface – Allows for easy control as well as remote printing from afar.
- Optimized Design Footprint – extremely efficient design, to pack the greatest number of features into the smallest space possible. All features are accessible from the front of the machine.
- Networked – Can effortlessly connect to the network in your home or office via a typical router using WiFi, USB or ethernet.
- Watch-Dog – Sensors to reliably notify the user of filament feed errors, low filament, motor drive faults and temperature issues.
At re:3D, the designers are fully aware of the importance of being able to customize a 3D printer, especially one this large, however the customer wishes. In order to get ideas and figure out just what their typical customers are after, they have decided to turn to Kickstarter once again, using it as both a crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform this time.
“By building this product with the Kickstarter community, we are creating the proving ground for the integration of new features and to ensure that our production line is done right,” stated re:3D.
While the first three backers were able to pre-order the Open Gigabot 3D Printer and become one of the pioneer ALPHA testers of some of the open source hacks which will be present on the machine for just $3,500, these rewards quickly have sold out. At the time of publishing this story there is one second tier Alpha level reward available for $4,300, and five BETA level rewards available at $5,300. After that, the campaign will close off as the company works with these 15 ALPHA and BETA backers to design the final Open Gigabot machine.
Let us know your thoughts on the Open Gigabot approach. Discuss in the re:3d Open Gigabot forum thread on 3DPB.com