Bigger is better, right? Well that depends on what you are talking about, but when it comes to 3D printers, the case can be made that larger machines provide for much more capability than their smaller counterparts. This is true in most cases, if the technology that the printer uses is the same on both machines. However, at the same time, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean “faster”. For one startup company, called Allied Dimensions, founder Jere Hiltunen has created the Large Scale Batch Printer (LSBP) which not only can print larger objects than most FDM machines, but can do so in a fraction of the time that these other machines can.
“My machine is capable of very fast printing on up to six [objects] at a time in a large closed chamber of 84x84x80 cm of heated build volume,” Hiltunen tells 3DPrint.com. “The real difference to the ones already on the market is the ultimate flexibility and modularity to scale the build space for the amount of printheads [needed] and also mix the way the printheads work.”
As you can see in the photos provided, Hiltunen’s machine is quite large (1120 x 1040 x 1230 mm in dimensions and a weight of approximately 80 kg), and unlike anything we have seen before. It utilizes its large frame and extreme modularity to print either very large objects or many objects at once.
“With only 1 head, you can print a massive piece and adding heads divides the space accordingly,” Hiltunen tells us. “You can also configure the printer to be a multimaterial printer with several heads.
For example, 6 different materials could be printed at once using 6 different print heads for the same object, or this could be broken down further, to allow for the mixing and matching of materials. The print heads are easily interchanged, and it takes just seconds to add or remove a head. This is because they are connected to the printer with clamps rather than screws. Also, all of the cabling is done through one single connector, meaning that the printheads and cables form an easy to remove unit that can be stored away or quickly assembled back onto the machine once removed.
“The machine uses open source firmwares for the easiest and most affordable tuning and updating for the changing needs without the costly work of a brand specialist,” Hiltunen explains. “The ultra light carriage system is made from carbon fibre with a novel bearing solution to provide a super sturdy yet light and fast system.”
The LSBP 3D printer, which took Hiltunen 14 months to design, build and iterate upon, is now ready for resale. It will be priced at 12000€ (approximately $13,260) for the basic model, and lower for smaller units.
The machine is optimized for “high flow” 3D printing, with large nozzles of 1.5mm and long heating channels. There will be different heads available for performing different functions and printing with specific materials. The large top portion of the LSBP features 6 filament spools capable of holding 1KG of filament a piece, although the company will offer a special filament feeder system for customers interested in mounting larger spools.
Maintenance on the LSBP is quite simple as well because of the easily removed, clamped-on print heads.
“Cleaning and adjusting the printheads is easy since you can pop it out of the machine for closer inspection and then just push it back in its place,” explained Hiltunen. “LSBP is designed to replace a traditional printer farm in serial production and serve as a large scale printer for massive projects. It’s a clever solution for a printing cafe or a prototyping workshop.”
This is the first product that Allied Dimensions will be launching in a line that will include other fabrication machines such as CNCs and laser cutters. They are willing to work with customers in order to customize the LSBP for their own individual needs.
What do you think of this new 3D printer? Is this something you foresee being used in the future. Discuss in the LSBP forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out some additional images below.