Mimaki’s New Large-Scale 3D Printer

By on March 25th, 2020 in printer

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Life-sized 3D printing [Image: Mimaki Europe]

Life-sized 3D printing [Image: Mimaki Europe]

When Mimaki thinks 3D printing, it’s thinking big.

Previous introductions from the Japan-based company have included full-color 3D printers offering 10 million color combinations for truly photorealistic production. The mindset for Mimaki’s 3D printers is industrial — and that’s visible in a big way for its latest system.

Mimaki 3DGD-1800

Initially slated for introduction during the (cancelled) FESPA Expo to be held this week in Madrid, the new 3D printer was announced at the start of the Mimaki Virtual Print Festival.

As might be guessed from the planned introduction at a print and sign expo, the 3D printer is geared toward signage and displays. Large-scale 3D printing has been increasingly making its way into this type of usage, and the catchily-named 3DGD-1800 is certainly large-scale.

The system, from Mimaki Europe, is designed to 3D print 1.8-meter-tall objects in seven hours. Print jobs can of course go larger still, should the design be suited for multi-part assembly. Scale and speed are in mind here, as this figure indicates; the company says the 3D printer is “facilitating large-scale production up to three times faster than with conventional Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) type 3D printers.” The comparison to FFF-style systems is perhaps not the best for a large-scale industrial system to make, but does highlight the speed in an understandable way.

The 3DGD-1800 is based on Gel Dispensing Printing technology, “extruding gel-type UV curable resin lineally and utilising LED UV light to instantly cure the resin, enabling lamination speeds of up to 350mm in height per hour.”

The 3DGD-1800, Mimaki Europe explains, is equipped with dual heads and “facilitates the production of support-free hollowed structures, further streamlining production whilst allowing for increased portability and the possible addition of interior illuminations.” That latter could be useful indeed for the intended use in display situations.

2D Printing Expertise

Like other Mimaki systems, the new machine draws from the company’s extensive background in industrial 2D printing.

While not in the same way as their full-color systems do, that expertise comes through in different areas — including use of 2D printing to decorate the large 3D printed objects.

Mimaki is bringing to bear its experience in display needs, and it is here that the 2D-and-3D printing combination can see particular benefits. Rather than sculpting foam to create large display pieces, additive manufacturing can build them up, saving on time and money versus the conventional build.

Because not every print job is a life-sized display or movie prop, Mimaki points to other potential applications including industrial production parts like molds for vacuum forming.

“Part of what makes our approach unique here at Mimaki is our dedication to being a Total Solutions Provider, and as such we have ensured that even beyond the 3D printing stage, our Mimaki inkjet printers can then be utilised to add colour and décor…[W]e intend to lead the sign graphics industry in both two- and three-dimensional signages – and the introduction of the new Mimaki 3DGD-1800 is a fantastic step forward in achieving this goal,” said Bert Benckhuysen, Senior Product Manager at Mimaki Europe.

The system is set for commercial availability April 1; pricing has not been announced.

Massivit Rebrand?

[Edit to update: 3/26]

As several astute readers and industry watchers have pointed out, the Mimaki 3DGD-1800 bears striking similarities to the Massivit 1800. Is this a rebrand of that machine, also made from 2D printing expertise and geared toward large-scale 3D printing for similar applications? We’ll try to find out soon!

{Edit to update: 4/10]

We’ve received credible confirmation that this system is indeed the same as the Massivit 3D printer.

Via Mimaki Europe

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!