While trundling around NYC’s 3D Printshow we happened to bump into what must be the largest commercially available RepRap-style 3D printer in the world.
BigRep One is new. Very new, in fact. The company, BigRep, is only seven WEEKS old! While the company is new, the machine itself has been under development for a couple of years by maker Lukas Oehmigen of Berlin. He’s been fascinated with the idea of large-scale 3D printing for some time, and now this idea has gone commercial.
The BigRep One is huge. It’s as tall as you and hard to reach both sides if you try. In the image above you’ll see a side table 3D print, which apparently took around a solid five days to complete printing.
You might imagine such enormous prints may take a long time, and you’d be right. However, Oehmigen has developed a high-performance extruder that’s quite quick. Even with this fast extruder, it will still take days to produce massive prints on the BigRep One. By the way, the One includes dual extruders.
The BigRep One’s build volume is, of course, its claim to fame: 1 x 1 x 1.3m. Yes, meters. More specifically, it’s 1,147 x 1,000 x 1,188mm. It’s a larger build volume than the ten-times-more-expensive Stratasys Objet 1000. To supply plastic filament to the extruder, the One uses 2.3Kg (5 lb) spools of PLA plastic, which can be swapped during printing for enormous prints.
That’s worth discussing a bit more: the One should print only in PLA (although we suppose you could try printing anything). Why PLA? Because ABS plastic is well known for its 8% shrinkage during printing. At the scale of the BigRep One, warping would be so severe that even Captain Kirk could not rescue the print. So, PLA it is. The minor amount of warping inherent in PLA plastic is mitigated by a massive heated print bed.
Are the PLA objects fragile? ABS is a stronger material, but a 30cm sample print was tested by Oehmigen in the image above. The object has a very sparse internal density, yet it could easily be stood upon without incident. We suspect many designs could be successfully printed on this machine.
The BigRep One comes with a big price as compared to other RepRap-style machines: USD$40,000. However, the price is far less than other machines of similar build volume. We’ll have more thoughts about this in a future post.
Meanwhile, save up your dollars for your BigRep One purchase this summer when they ship.