We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
It seems that 3D Systems has acquired the 3D printer maker botObjects and plans to use that company’s technology for multi-color 3D printing by combining 5 different colored thermoplastic materials. The first full-color 3D printer by 3D Systems that uses FFF/FDM technology to extrude thermoplastic material will be the CubePro C and the device will apparently be on display on CES 2015. botObjects pioneered the first 3D desktop printer using PlasticJet Printing (PJP) that offers true full-color 3D printing, significantly expanding the palette of possibilities for what designers, artists and engineers create, from prototypes to products. botObjects also invented a proprietary 5-color CMYKW cartridge system, capable of mixing primary printing colors on the fly to generate vibrant color combinations and gradient transitions.
The botObjects ProDesk3D will be folded into 3DS’s new CubePro C printer family and deliver a true full-color experience at a price of $4990 USD, so actually not way too affordable for home users. The new CubePro C should be capable of printing down to 25-microns layers at deposition speeds of up to 175 millimeters per second using durable PLA and ABS print materials with PVA support material. Until the company expands its manufacturing capacity, the CubePro C will be available in a limited release, with plans to expand distribution later in 2015 and currently there is no yet official release date set, but that will most likely follow soon.
CubePro C 3D Printer Key Features:
– Full-color, CMYKW Plastic Jet printing with color mixing and gradient color
– Cartridge system mixes colors on the fly
– Material choices include PLA, ABS and PVA soluble supports
– Build volume of 8.25 x 9.25 x 8.25 in. (210 x 235 x 210 mm)
– Compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems
– Layer thickness: 25 microns in HD mode, 100 microns in SD mode, 200 microns in Draft mode
– Print speeds up to three times faster than comparable printers
– Proprietary cartridge systems of individual or multipacks. Multipacks include the CMYKW base colors and PVA dissolvable supports
– Convenient setup with auto-leveling, auto-calibration and an automated print environment
– Simple USB connectivity
– Get the most of your investment with a cartridge recycling program and printer warranty
– Immediate limited release; global release later in 2015
It seems that while the basic specifications will remain the same, the CubePro C 3D printer will come with a lower build volume as compared to what the original design from botObjects promised. Also there is currently no price information about the special color cartridges with filament that the device uses coming form 3D Systems, but a full 6 cartridges with the colors plus a sixth PVA support one was priced at $135.95 USD, so we can expect a similar price. The CubePro C is definitely going to be an interesting option for people that want to have more affordable multi-color 3D printing using device that relies on common thermoplastic materials such as PLA and ABS.
When you already own a 3D printer you can start buying products that come in two halves – one that is 3D printable and you need to make the parts yourself and another one that is with components that you cannot print. We have purchased the RoboSavvy Universal Spool Holder kit that essentially comes just like we described above as we wanted to have a separate filament spool support that is not directly attached to the 3D printer. The kit itself comes with all the metal parts that you need in the form of rods, nuts and bearings and the other plastic parts you need to print yourself – the STL files are provided (the parts in black on the photo above we have printed ourselves). The parts you cannot print are actually common items that you might be able to easily find in a hardware store near you, but you need to buy them separately and they are sold as a complete kit, so it is easier to acquire all that you need.
The Universal Spool Holder is designed to support two medium sized spools of varying lengths at once, and can be adjusted to support spools up to 21 cm wide, so pretty large ones. On the photo above you can see our fully assembled spool holder with a single MakerBot large 0.9 kg (2lb) spool of PLA material mounted on top of it, this leaves quite a lot of space for more than one more spool even if larger, and even though the spool is small in one end the holder remains stable and works well. It would’ve been nicer if we’ve had another 4 bearings and wing nuts in the kit, so that we could add the option for a third spool, but we can get them additionally anyway, so not much of a problem. The idea is that the spool holder is designed for medium and large size spools and you are most likely going to be using a lot of smaller size ones as well, so you are most likely going to need to add the option for a third spool to make it more useful anyway.
The RoboSavvy Universal Spool Holder is a nice and useful product that we liked very much and the fact that we needed to print some parts and assemble the unit ourselves is a nice addition for people who like us like this kind of stuff. While assembling the spool holder we have found out that there was a pair of hex nuts missing from the package, but we had some spare M4 nuts lying around, so we have quickly fixed that. Now what we only need to do is find some more 20x27x4mm bearings and print two more plastic middle parts on the 3D printer and we’ll have the option to extend the holder to three spools.
The German RepRap has an interesting deal if you want to have a 3D printer for someone as a Christmas gift this holiday and you are based in Europe. Their NEO X-mas edition 3D printer kit comes with a great package at the attractive price of 698.99 EUR. With the NEO Christmas edition you ll get a ready-to-print NEO 3D printer plus LED lighting and 100 grams PLA 1.75 mm filament each in gold, silver and transparent. A 3D Printer is the ideal Christmas gift for everybody who is keen on new technology: early adopters, hobbyists, men, women and children. With the NEO 3D Printer you are able to print your own toys, spare parts, decoration for Christmas and other occasions or every-day tools. And the good price of the device sure makes it an interesting option for a gift to get someone started in the world of 3D printing, before deciding to go for a more serious solution for 3D printing or not. This 3D printer is designed for smaller prints and comes at a good price for a first 3D printer, so it is good even if you want to have it for yourself if you are interested in 3D printing and do not want to spend too much for your first device.
– Printer dimensions (w/h/d): 330 x 330 x 330 mm
– Maximum printed size: (X/Y/Z) 150 x 150 x 150 mm
– Filament support: PLA, 1.75mm
– Extruder nozzle size: 0.5 mm
– Maximum print resolution: 0.1 mm
– Printer Technology: FFF
– Delivery: Fully-assembled
– Voltage: 110/230V AC
– Power consumption: ca. 50W
– Weight: ca. 6kg