The world of rapid prototyping and 3D printing has been revolutionizing different industries with a host of services and possibilities opening up every day. Rapid prototyping helps to save time and money by reducing the number of iterations to create a product. The models that have been rapid prototyped with 3D printing give researchers and manufacturers an idea regarding what kind of tweaks need to be done to the actual product. 3D printing too has been amazing on its own. Independent hobbyists love the idea of getting something printed out in 3D which can be almost anything imaginable. This is the reason why 3D printer models suitable for desktop use are gaining traction among hobbyists and educational institutions where 3D printing is taught to children.
CreateAll, a 3D printer company at Ohio has recently announced a big project that can give rapid prototyping some traction. Starting out only as a Kickstarter campaign, a new 3D printer will be released by Cincinnati based 3D printing startup CreateAll. The specialty of Versa3D, a desktop based 3D printer model is that it is actually a desktop based fabrication machine. Versa3D has CNC milling, laser cutting and 3D printing capabilities that can be used for rapid prototyping as well. Hobbyists can early bird order the complete version of the 3D printing machine for a price of $3499.
There have been however, divided opinions about these compact, all purpose desktop based rapid prototyping fabricating machines. A great feature of the machine is that it is always handy to have a laser cutter, CNC mill and 3D printer in a single unit. It can be of great use for minimizing the amount of workspace needed, making production faster and of course, saving up on some of the production cost for rapid prototyping. On the other hand though, critics opine that this new desktop based fabrication machine has additional options can potentially cause products to malfunction. They also note that the specialists of the industry would rather choose machines that are good for one particular discipline. In other words, this multitasking 3D printer can be great for hobbyists, but professionals or serious designers do not really need a machine that claims to be an all-round jack of all trades, yet master of none.
Versa3D by CreateAll is not just great for avoiding mistakes of all purpose machines. The company actually believes that Versa3D can actually give other printers of its kind a run for their money. CreateAll claims that their new rapid prototyping device can beat others in terms of build volume, materials flexibility and printing speeds. The team from CreateAll began to work three years ago with the idea of building a larger, more flexible and faster 3D printer. However, the team soon realized that the amount of research and effort put to the project could easily be applied to other processes of fabrication, that too just as effectively.
CreateAll first integrated a laser and a spindle into its 3D printing device. The company then began working at various rapid prototyping based designs until finally settling for a machine that according to the company staff exceeded all expectations from a 3D printer of that caliber. The machine also happens to be completely modular, hence customers can in fact choose to buy just the 3D printer or any required combination of the three different modules that suit their specific needs for rapid prototyping and fabrication.
The 3D printing unit that Versa3D is equipped with is actually quite impressive when it comes to its technical specifications. Its build volume is 300x300x221 mm along with printing speed of 300 millimeters per second, which is quite impressive. To achieve this commendable speed, this 3D printer uses v-wheel movement as well as a pinion and rack drive system for smooth overall movement. To make their material flexibility better, CreateAll added in dual print heads onto their 3D printing device. This enabled better experimentation for materials, printing in multicolor and printing effectively with support structures.
Another factor to consider and benefit for CreateAll was the usability. Made out of aluminum frames, Versa3D hence comes with various shortcuts and helpful features. These include drag and drop slicing onboard, an automated setup procedure and tablet/smartphone control option. BuildTak, a durable yet thin plastic sheet is incorporated in the rapid prototyping device in order to make its build plate first layer adhesive.
Next comes the CNC mill unit, this works with the help of three axes which include a 300W spindle and NEMA 17 motors. This unit runs almost quietly, hence making it great for the workplace. For the laser cutter unit, there is a 2500mW adjustable focus laser head which can do engravings at a speed of 300 millimeters per second.
Followed by the celebrated campaign on Kickstarter, enthusiasts can pre order on an early bird deal for the rapid prototyping desktop based machine. For one element out of the three of the Versa3D, says the 3D printing unit for instance, backers can get it for a sum of $2,999. The cost of two units is $3,299. The complete three unit machine costs around $3,499. For these early orders, the delivery is estimated to be in January next year. It’s easy to see how these machines could be quite useful in the classroom setting for students at universities across the country.
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