As E3D works to build a comprehensive 3D printing ecosystem, a stellar reputation has evolved along the way for this relatively young but dynamic company out of the UK, already responsible for developing a standard in the industry for hotends.
Now, after doing their time building quality parts, they’ve gathered up all that experience and technological brilliance and collaborated with LittleBox, designers of the MicroSlice desktop laser cutter, to bring the BigBox 3D printer to the world. E3D is also launching a Kickstarter campaign today in hopes of reaching their £30,000 goal in the next month.
We’ve followed this group of makers, originally from the famed Isle of Wight, as they’ve devoted their time to releasing quality components–mainly by way of their 3D printing hotends–and emerging as specialty vendors. Founded by Sanjay Mortimer and David Lamb, both former teachers, the E3D offices are now headquartered in Oxfordshire, where the E3D team is steadily growing not just in size, but esteem.
With the BigBox 3D printer, you can run down that ‘what should I look for in a 3D printer’ list and feel quite comfortable checking off the boxes–that is if you are looking for a 3D printer with a modular, open-source design, superior resolution, and a build size of 300 x 200 x 280 mm. The design features what this company is famous for as well, centering around the E3D hotend, which allows for extraordinarily high performance.
The BigBox will be offered in the Lite version, priced at under £500, along with the full-featured Pro version and pre-assembled Factory version–also both to have very competitive pricing. E3D will be releasing all the design files for the BigBox so you can hack it and modify it to meet your specific 3D printing requirements.
- High-end electronics that are part of turn-key system
- LCD graphics display for controlling settings, stopping, and starting, without use of PC
- Remote access upgrade available
- E3D Volcano upgrade option for obtaining massive print speed and print strength
- Exceptional accessibility with open design and electronics access hatch
While offering users a large 3D printer, E3D kept balance in mind with the design, offering a build space that is thoughtfully constructed, and allows you to perform high-volume printing.
“There are a lot of printers out there with wobbly unstable build platforms, having a big impact on print quality,” says the E3D team. “We went all-out overkill to ensure our bed was not going to suck.”
“Our moving print bed uses a total of four precision shafts with long bearings on each corner of the bed, with two Z axis motors and leadscrews, one on each side. This results in a huge amount of constraint and stability eliminating any chance of flex or wobble.”
The extrusion system is not to be overlooked, boasting versatility borne out of the E3D team’s experience with building quality hotends. With the BigBox 3D printer you can look forward to adventurous 3D printing, producing even the tiniest prints with incredible resolution, using nearly any filament, to include:
- Rubbery materials
- Metal and carbon
The nozzles are interchangeable; for example, if you are seeking higher resolution for a print requiring extremely fine details, the BigBox allows you the option of using something like the .25mm nozzle. Constant upgrades will be in development as well. The modular design allows for experienced users to remove, modify, and upgrade parts at will. The hotend can be easily removed, and there is plenty of room for expansion in the area of electronics overall.
The team promises comprehensive documentation for the BigBox, which allows a design that users can really customize for their own uses.
“For the more advanced and adventurous users we’re keen to enable as much hacking and modification as possible,” says the E3D team. “There will be a dedicated forum for support and discussion of the machine.”
As makers who are developing for other enthusiasts in the industry, what sets E3D apart is that they know what they are doing and they know what they are talking about. In a fledgling industry with a marketplace beginning to bustle–and overflow–with 3D printing products, it’s important to make that distinction.