Industries3D will sell a “set it forget it” 3D production system aimed at anyone looking for a practical, fast, low-cost, and reproducible product to be made from a wide variety of materials. These can include rubber, wax, and many new plastics.
It evolved from a simple idea – that if you could print multiple materials (like metal and plastic) together, you can create an incredible array of new products. This will bring 3D printing closer to typical everyday use. For example, printing plastic can make the frame of a machine, but not a useful machine itself. When you add metal or conductive polymer, you can suddenly make a microphone, a coffee machine, or even a motor. By adding rubber, you can make padding for things like headphones, or tires.
To start we looked at printing with traditional filament 3D printers. We contacted half a dozen manufacturers and explained that we would like to extrude new materials like nylon, thermoplastic rubber, or metal particle filled ABS. Universally they were uninterested or did not get back to us, probably out of fear of breaking their processing machines, or the cost to switch to a new material. Additionally, we realized that with filaments, you can’t push soft, putty, brittle materials like sugar (brittle), wax (brittle), ceramic(putty), or rubber(soft). As a result, we began developing an granule or pellet fed dual-extruder system called the “Augr.” Shortly after, we realized all the amazing benefits of such a system aimed at building production-ready parts, and the system evolved into an Industries3D concept: The first 3D production system that uses 3D printing at a speed, scale, accuracy, and cost reduction never seen before. You can use it to make a final product for low to medium volume manufacturing.
The stages of Industries3D’s evolution:
- We start by realizing that we want to print at production scales.
- If you can print using raw pellet stock, you can print many new useful materials.
- Printing in raw materials lowers the cost of prints about 5-10 fold.
- Printing in raw materials allows larger parts to be printed, but also requires faster speed.
- To print at faster speeds we increased the power output of 3D printers 10X and redesigned the firmware, acceleration, and slicing software. We also went to a 24V system.
- We hired a team of 3 additional engineers to help the two founders.
- We really had to redesign slicing software (patents pending).
- To print in a larger production system, or to print many small parts, we needed a larger print bed. So we eliminated the heated bed concept with several innovations (patents pending).
- A larger printed needed more desk space, so adding a laptop would make it too cumbersome. We sought help from an excellent android developer who has made an integrated touchscreen android controller for the system (open source).
- Because printing larger parts means much larger gcode files, we modified the system to include line by line processing instead of loading the whole file in ram like Pronterface does (open source).
- To eliminate the “babysitting / TLC” aspect of 3D printers, we are developing an all-support material mode so you don’t have to wonder if a part can be printed.
- There are several more surprising, shocking improvements that we didn’t even think we would be able to achieve so quickly, and we can’t advertise just yet. Thankfully the team is working hard to realize a product in the next month.
Eventually, we see Industries3D as the leader in inexpensive (<$5000) 3D production system. Everyone from shoe companies, machinists, jewelers and even prop and set designers will be using them. In future generations, we expect extremely cool new 3D production systems to follow, possibly including metal, ceramic, and industry-specific features.