We had the opportunity to spend some time with the BFB gang at London’s Plastics Design and Moulding show. They were demonstrating their flagship product, the BFB 3000 3D printer, as well as a 3D Systems V-Flash from their parent company.
We spoke at length with BFB CTO and Founder Ian Adkins (above), who says “we can’t make them fast enough”, when asked how successful BFB’s 3D printers have been recently. This was quite evident as there was always a very large crowd around the BFB booth, many of whom had never seen or heard of 3D printers.
We thought this was quite interesting, because one might think low-end 3D printers would be exclusively used by consumers or educational markets. Not so, as visitors to this industrial trade show were definitely interested in an ultra-low-priced rapid prototyping machine on which they could produce “rough drafts” of items before proceeding to more expensive options.
BFB’s display booth contained a many very impressive sample prints, including several very large items such as a massive copy of the Gothic Cathedral Play Set from Thingiverse, Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia and this amazing human jaw section, shown here with supports and with supports removed. This is truly a very challenging item to print that was successfully done on BFB’s equipment (note – the minor discoloration was apparently due to slightly misaligned print heads and should not normally appear). All of these items require significant time to print, and while our testing thus far has managed no-fault seven hour runs, Ian explained that the longest they’ve attempted is a staggering 46 hour print.
As for BFB’s activities, we understand they’re spending much time focusing on improving the user experience of 3D printing. This includes not only improvements and simplifications in their hardware (particularly unboxing, assembly and operation), but also in their software. They’ve been working diligently on a new version of their driver software, Axon 2, that should be available very soon.