While many aspects of 3D printing may appear limited at this time, especially when considering speed, build size, and material compatibility, there is little doubt that these limits will be surpassed in the months and years ahead. If you look back over past decades, technology has always seemed to surpass our wildest visions. Just like driverless cars appeared to be a pipe dream a decade or two ago, or space travel, an event only found in science-fiction novels just 75 years ago, 3D printing is here now and will only continue to surprise us all as innovative minds uncover new creative approaches which will define the technology moving forward.
We all know that FFF/FDM 3D printers are typically limited to the size of the machine itself. Unless you want a big bulky machine sitting in your garage or on your desktop, the size of the items one can print is limited to usually under 12 inches in any given direction, if not less.
One Austin, Texas-based startup called Techjango is trying to change all this by presenting an all-in-one multi-faceted machine capable of a variety of manufacturing techniques, and best of all incorporating a build envelope that’s 32 inches in diameter.
Techjango specializes in open source hardware and DIY products. They are the creators of the Darkmatter Xbox One Laptop and many other innovative products. This year at the 10th Annual Bay Area Maker Faire, the company will be pulling the cover off of their Makerarm machine in front of thousands of makers and tech enthusiasts.
The Makerarm is an all-in-one 3D printer, laser engraver, milling machine, plotter, pick & place machine, and more, all bundled up into a frame that looks more like one of those 3-liter beer towers you see at your favorite bar than an actual manufacturing machine. With a footprint that’s not much larger than that of an over-sized drinking glass, the Makerarm steps away from the typical Cartesian or Delta-style equipment we are all familiar with. Instead it relies on a sophisticated robotic arm setup, which is compact, stylish, and incredibly easy to use, according to the company.
This ‘complete personal fabrication system’ uses swappable modules to perform any of the following manufacturing tasks:
- 3D Print
- Laser Engrave & Etch
- Pick & Place
- PCB Fab & Assembly
The general work area is much larger than the typical desktop 3D printer or milling machine. Utilizing a sleek robotic arm the Makerarm is able to print, cut, and engrave objects with a diameter of approximately 32 inches and a height of 10 inches. With the ability to connect wirelessly via WiFi to a nearby computer, an auto-leveling system that makes setup a breeze, and a sturdy frame with precision joints, this device seems to be a maker’s dream come true.
Pricing details and the exact date of availability have yet to be announced, although additional information is expected around the middle of this month, coinciding with Bay Area Maker Faire on May 16-17.
Let us know your thoughts on this all-in-one device. Discuss in the Makerarm forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below you will find one of the company’s prototypes in action:
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