World Maker Faire 2013: Innovative New 3D Printer Design

Nicholas Seward at ConceptForge gave us a demonstration of "WALLY", an innovative new 3D RepRap design at Maker Faire.

WALLY uses a SCARA/pantograph approach that totally eliminates linear rails, appears to be more compact, and is able to print parts for a next generation copy/clone that is 20% larger than itself. According to Seward the process can be repeated with each generation being as much as 20% larger than it's predecessor.

The part print quality was a bit rough, but Seward explained that the prototype WALLY on display had only been running for 3 days. He expects the print quality to match other 3D printer designs on the market after he has a few weeks for fine-tuning.

WALLY features a 3/8" water jet cut basalt bed with a laser cut registration grid; Anubis hotend equipped with a FEP Bowden tube (similar to Tantillus) that minimizes the print head mass resulting in smoother prints; linear motion drive utilizing 100lb test braided fishing line (another design approach similar to Tantillus); and is wall mountable.

The print envelope is 200 mm in diameter by 150 mm tall. The printer is designed to use 1.75mm PLA filament, though it could probably be modified for use with other filament sizes or types.

Seward estimates that WALLY will cost USD$450 for a "print your own" version and plans to offer a full kit priced around USD$600.

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World Maker Faire 2013: 3D Printed “Pot Head”

It's surprising how rapidly the capability and capacity of affordable 3D printers has increased.

There were several exhibitors at Maker Faire in NYC last week showing off printers with print envelopes large enough to print really big objects. Of course the print times can be extremely long, and there is also the issue of warping with large parts. Still, the results were very impressive and encouraging.

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MakerBot Announces New Scanner

It's SXSW  time again already, so it should come as no surprise that companies involved in the interactive space are rolling out press releases and product announcements designed to leverage the excitement of the moment.

May 6 2010 NYC Village MakerBot 164 | Flickr  Photo Sharing

The most exciting, and interesting announcement that we've seen so far came from Makerbot on Friday. The company's CEO, and one of the founders, Bre Pettis stepped into the limelight to let the world know that they are developing a new 3-D scanner. Actual details are kind of sparse at the moment, because the company is still in the prototyping phase. No doubt will be extensive testing, learning, and redesign over the next few months as the product develops. There is currently no indication of the price or release timing, though the company did state that they will start accepting orders this fall.

The scanner consists of a turntable on which you mount objects you wish to scan. Lasers and cameras translate that object into a digital files. Bre said the scanner will be ideal for archiving, prototyping, replicating, and digitizing prototypes, models, parts, artifacts, artwork, jewelry, and other objects.

Assuming that the pricing is reasonable, and by that I mean in line with the pricing for the company's 3-D printers, then the new scanner will be a huge success. There are free solutions out there that usually involve taking a series of photos, then having the photos analysed to re-create the dimensions for the 3-D object. However the free software available online is either difficult to use, or requires significant attention to detail.

The new scanner, on the other hand seems to be much more straightforward and has some nice features that we help make it into the final product design. For example, the turntable, which we assume will be able to rotate the subject smoothly and repeatably.  it appears that the company would like to expand its offerings to include products targeted at all the key steps in the design and manufacturing/printing process.

Related links: Makerbot Announces New Scanner

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