One of Leapfrog’s new products seems to hit a milestone by offering what might be the tallest build volume yet seen in 3D printers.
The Xcel is actually not a desktop unit, unless you plan to raise the ceiling in your workshop to accommodate the incredible height of this machine. It’s strangely skinny build volume is 530 x 500 x 2300mm (and slightly less wide for the dual extruder version).
A machine with that size is large, and the Xcel’s exterior dimensions are 945 x 1030 x 2900mm. Yes, this machine is almost 3 meters tall! Not for desktops, obviously. You’d best check your workshop’s ceiling size before ordering one to ensure it will fit!
The Xcel is a premium machine with plenty of features. Some highlights include:
- Dual extruder option
- Enclosed build volume to capture heat
- Heated granite-composite print surface (to 80C, a bit less than ABS requirements)
- Large nozzle option, up to 1.2mm for speeding up larger prints
- Automatic bed calibration
- Integrated WiFi networking
- Integrated Linux OS to manage print operations
There’s one other thing: the Xcel prints only PLA plastic.
Now, you might think that’s a problem, but I don’t believe so. That’s because for prints of this size, you really cannot expect success using any warp-prone plastics like ABS. PLA’s extremely low warpage makes it the ideal material for a machine like the Xcel. In fact, other very-large-scale 3D printers such as BigRep or 3D Platform also use PLA exclusively.
By the way, the integrated WiFi is used to provide a link between the onboard operations and remote control. Leapfrog is providing a means to monitor and control the Xcel’s operations from laptops, tablets or even smartphones.
Using a machine like this will permit you to print functional furniture-sized objects, such as this abstract lamp shade.
Or this fully-functional chair, made entirely of 3D printed PLA plastic.
As you might imagine, this machine carries a premium price. I can’t say specifically what it might be, as you’ll have to contact them directly for a quote. That’s always the sign of a higher-priced machine.