Earlier today we covered a new 3D printer, which was unveiled at RapidPro 2015. It utilizes a robotic arm to maneuver an extruder that’s similar to one you’d find on a typical FFF/FDM machine, and is able to print objects as large as 26 feet in length. Apparently, this convergence between robotics and 3D printing may be an emerging trend within the industry this year.
Back in November we covered a company called Viridis3D, which at the time had just partnered with Palmer Manufacturing on a project to construct powder bed 3D printers that also relied on a robotic arm for movement. In November the company claimed that their system would be much faster than traditional powder bed 3D printers, and would also be able to print multiple parts using a conveyor belt system. In the four months since this announcement, Viridis3D and Palmer Manufacturing seem to have made substantial progress, not only with the printer itself, but also with a new material specifically formulated for their machines.
Up until this point, Viridis3D had been privately funded by its co-founders. However, as the company seeks to expand on their industrial robotic 3D printer platform for metal casting, composites, and ceramics, they are now turning to Indiegogo as part of a crowdfunding campaign to hopefully raise $20,000 by April 7. The funds will be used to bring their platform and materials to market as well as move their RAM 260 machine out to some trade shows in order to generate interest.
“As a pre-sales startup, we can’t afford to miss this trade show season, with so many new hardware and materials solutions to talk about,” states the company. “Your assistance, and interest in the product lines we are launching, will make it possible to rock these shows with all the content and examples that they deserve.”
Since November Viridis3D has succeeded in creating demo units of their large format Robotic Additive Manufacturing (RAM) 3D printers, the RAM 140 and RAM 260. The smaller of the two units has a build envelope of 14 x 30 x 12 inches, while the larger machine can print objects up to 28 x 80 x 24 inches in size.
In addition to their crowdfunding initiative, Viridis3D has also recently unveiled a brand new material for their 3D printers called ViriWax. This nontoxic and environmentally friendly material is designed to work with the company’s RAM 3D printers, on a variety of lost-wax-casting applications.
The new ViriWax material can be used with both the RAM 140 and RAM 260 machines to fabricate large objects at rates of up to 2 inches per hour, and can also be used for applications outside the investment casting space. According to the company, the material is excellent for use in fabricating concept models. Thus far it has been used to print patterns and models for pump motors, manifolds, sculptures, and more.
“Our development team has worked very hard to make a 3D printing material especially for large part production that not only produces parts faster at less cost, but is also environmentally friendly,” said Will Shambley, President of Viridis3D.
If you’d like to help Viridis3D further develop and market their robotic 3D printing platform, you may contribute to their Indiegogo campaign and in the process pick up some cool rewards. Let us know your thoughts on what this company is trying to do. Discuss in the Viridis 3D/ViriWax forum thread on 3DPB.com.