As our desire for printing large object increases, our patience most certainly does not. Everything has to be done perfect, and it has to be done fast.
Ofcourse this causes problems. Nowadays the 3D printers we use can be tuned to go faster and even tuned to build larger.
Two years ago, during the same project (Kamermaker 2013 project) they combined two Ultimaker printers by creating a moving platform, therefor combining the print capacity.
Last year, during the Ultimakerxxl 2014 project they used the Z-Unlimited concept by Joris van Tubergen, and added a moveable X-axis. This resulted in a construction that was able to print way bigger than the regular Ultimaker sizes.
This year, we will be combining these technologies to print objects up to 700 x 350 x 1000 mm and much more important: fast!
We will be using two Ultimaker printers, turn them around, and put them on a moveable X-axis and moveable Z-axis. The Y-axis will be increased by moving the printing bed.
Theoretically, if this technology works, it will be able to combine even more Ultimaker printers (or other printers for that matter) to print large object even faster.
This technology could even be used for creating small objects faster, by combining tiny 3D printers.
But what are the problems?
Since the printerheads will never be able to overlap, it is necessary to move the printers or the printing bed, to fill the material in between to ‘original’ printing beds.
This then causes multiple problems:
-The printers will have to move to reach the ‘gap’, so extra moving X- and Y-axis.
-The software has to be able to know when to print what and when to move, since there are double X- and Y-axis.
To realise this, we will be converting the construction that the Ultimaker XXL 2014 project built to better suit our needs (an extra Ultimaker on the X-axis and a moving printing bed for the Y-axis. As for the software, we will have to write a plug-in for the G-code that slices up the model that is to be printed into parts. Each of these parts is corresponding with a position the Ultimakers are in when they are moved along the X- and Y-axis. This means to cover all points, it has to move 4 times. Each part has to be finished before moving on to the next part. This means that the Ultimakers have to wait for each other to finish the part before moving on.
If we manage to solve these problems, the next step to creating a fast, presice and large 3D printer is set.