RepRap Central is launching a difficult challenge to the 3D printer world.
RepRap Central is a 3D printer online store, but they’re reaching out to the community for a new project. The goal of their “2015 3D Printer Challenge” is to create a design for what they call “FLM” printing, or “Fused Layer Manufacturing”. They say:
You’re going to be asked to create a 3d Printer that will print a complete layer at a time.
Imagine the benefits of this type of 3D Printer. Very rapid build times, super smooth vertical operation, a level of accuracy yet to be experienced and super quiet operation.
There are machines that can perform this feat already, namely DLP-powered resin 3D printers, but RepRap Central is seeking a less expensive, less patent-encumbered, more DIY approach.
It’s going to require much thought and eventually experimentation. The most difficult component will, no doubt, be the extruding mechanism that prints an entire layer at once. There could be ways to do this, but we imagine inventors have been contemplating this achievement for a while.
It could be that such a design is already being worked on, somewhere in a secret underground laboratory. If so, it’s possible the inventors may reveal their work to the world - or also possible they don’t so that they can patent the design for future profit.
Nevertheless, should this be successful, a DIY design that can print entire layers would be significant. Print speeds would increase, which is one of the major barriers to general acceptance of 3D printing.
Via RepRap Central