Leapfrog’s Xcel 3D printer is far taller than you could imagine.
I wrote of the then-new Xcel from Leapfrog a few months ago when it was first announced, but it’s quite another thing to see this incredible machine in person.
To refresh, this is a quality 3D printer with the normal features one would expect in a plastic extrusion model, with one fantastic difference: height.
The build volume is a ridiculous 530 x 500 x 2300mm. While the X and Y axes are significantly larger than most desktop 3D printers, it’s the Z axis that’s noticeable, at well over two meters in height!
When you see the image at top of the machine, you’ll obviously notice that it’s pretty tall. But that doesn’t truly tell the story.
Here is an image looking up at the top of the Xcel from in front of the machine. This is not a machine you can easily see: you have to turn your head far up to watch it operating. This is perhaps the only machine I’ve encountered where you cannot easily see the initial extrusions merely by looking at the build surface.
In fact, unless you’re basketball player-sized, you likely will require a stepladder to gain access to the top of the machine.
The size is so large that prints will take considerable time. Here we see a view of the Xcel’s control panel, with a four day print in progress! Expect this machine to run for days at a time.
One constraint on this machine is material: due to the massive size of the prints, they recommend 3D printing only PLA plastic, which has very limited warping that would be exaggerated on such large prints. For this, you'll likely want to buy extra-large filament spools, like the one shown here.
Want an Xcel? You will pay a premium price for this large machine: €22,499 (USD$25,000). That’s a high price, but if you need to print one-piece large items like propellor blades, this is the machine for you.