Loop 3D’s product is very different from when we last looked at them in 2017.
In 2017 the Turkey-based Teknodizayn 3D Company was developing a revolutionary 3D printer that could automatically remove completed prints, under the brand name “Loop 3D”. Their system involved an unusual build plate equipped with a network of “pins” that would rise up at job completion, pushing the print off the plate and thus freeing it up for subsequent work.
I’m fascinated with such devices, as they remove the major manual element in dealing with 3D printers, and essentially convert a prototyping device into one that can continuously manufacture pieces.
What has become of this powerful capability?
Teknodizayn 3D Company discontinued work on the continuous 3D printing concept and now markets an entirely different machine, the Loop Pro.
Dropping Continuous 3D Printing
Why did Teknodizayn 3D Company discontinue their efforts on continuous 3D printing? It seems they received considerable feedback from customers and prospects, and it turned out that few wanted to pay the extra cost required to implement continuous 3D printing, suggesting that they could easily hire manual labor to perform that work instead. In addition, the feedback suggested clients would rather just buy more machines with the savings.
And so Teknodizayn 3D Company embarked on a new journey to abandon the continuous 3D printing concept and instead develop a new machine that would be more appealing to clients. This concluded with the launch of the new Loop Pro after two years of development time.
The result is a compact industrial 3D printer equipped with many factory-friendly features, all available at a relatively low price.
Loop Pro Features
The Loop Pro includes a number of very attractive features, all packaged into a rather stylish frame and cabinet, as seen at top.
What is quite interesting about the Loop Pro is its build volume, which is a monstrous 500 x 300 x 500 mm. The surprising part is that somehow Teknodizayn 3D Company managed to squeeze that huge build volume into a device that doesn’t appear to be much larger than machines of 300mm size.
This machine has a huge footprint efficiency; it’s external dimensions are only 770 x 610 mm. However, it does weigh 140kg.
This dimension is very important, because it means the device can fit through doorways very easily, whereas other machines of 500mm build volume dimensions cannot. In other words, a facility with door constraints requiring a 500mm build volume might have only Loop 3D as a feasible option.
Additionally, the Loop Pro is equipped with HEPA and activated carbon filters, making it more suitable for use in an office environment, usually just beyond that doorway.
Automated calibration of the Loop Pro is accomplished with a laser attached to the print head. There is a digital readout that shows the precise gap value between the nozzle and the print surface. This should make leveling extremely accurate.
The Loop Pro’s build surface is a CNC-milled flat metal surface that is entirely magnetic. On top of this is place a spring steel flexible plate that can be easily removed for peeling off completed 3D prints. The steel plate is coated with BuildTak for adhesion, which works well for some materials; for others, you’ll have to use the glue stick.
Loop Pro Materials
The Loop Pro is not a high temperature machine, but it is designed to 3D print many popular engineering materials. Teknodizayn 3D Company themselves offer a line of materials that includes, for example, a glass or carbon fiber-filled PA6.
To handle the engineering materials, the Loop Pro is heated internally, and includes an onboard filament dryer. This ensures the filament spools are always dry. Company representatives said the humidity in the filament chamber is always less than 15%.
To handle different types of materials, the Loop Pro’s tool head can be quickly changed. We were told it is possible to swap print heads in less than one minute. Two heads are available now, an all-metal version for engineering materials, and a smooth plastic one for flexible and low temperature materials.
Loop Pro Cloud System
One of the interesting features of the Loop Pro is that it is cloud-enabled. 3D print job slicing takes place in the cloud, and can use pre-defined print profiles. Teknodizayn 3D Company has prepared a number of optimized profiles for their own materials, making the likelihood of print success quite high.
However, the Loop Pro is indeed an open materials machine and you are free to use any materials you’d like. You just have no guarantee there is a print profile in place for them. Teknodizayn 3D Company has arranged for operators to submit profiles for other materials to them, and if tested successfully, they are added to the cloud for others to use.
The cloud system can also leverage the Loop Pro’s onboard webcam. This enables constant monitoring of 3D print operations and the opportunity to cancel a job if something goes wrong.
The Loop Pro is available now and is priced at approximately €20,000 (US$22,000).
Via Loop 3D