Aleph Objects is one of the very few 3D printer companies that offer a glimpse into their future products before they are announced.
Why so? The company has a very strong open source theme, and not only are their files presented publicly, but the tools they develop them with are all open source as well. They’ve even launched an open source 3D printer filament project as well.
This philosophy is carried through their machine development process, and anyone is able to peruse their design files, including those for the next machine that has not yet been announced, which presumably will be the TAZ 7, following on from the TAZ 6.
If you check out the TAZ 7 (code name “quiver”) files you’ll also find a few screenshots of what appears to be the new design. At top is a front view of the “TAZ 7”, and here are two other views, and the current TAZ 6:
What’s different? It’s hard to tell without delving deep into their design files, but there are some interesting hints in these images.
- The cable management system for the extruder seems quite different, perhaps designed to handle higher speeds.
- The stepper motors for the Z-axis at the bottom appear to be mounted sideways instead of vertically, as they would usually drive a threaded rod. Speculation is that the TAZ 7 would sport a belt-driven Z-axis, which may provide greater accuracy and reduce layer inconsistencies.
- The extruder and hot end appear quite different, so we may see a change there as well. Strangely there are no ducts on the TAZ 7 diagram, but perhaps they will be added later.
- The X-axis mechanism also appears a bit different.
While the remainder of the machine appears very similar to the TAZ 6, it seems they are improving the motion system and the extruder / hot end. Why do this? I can think of two obvious reasons: speed and accuracy. These improvements should not only improve the quality of prints, but also potentially speed up printing. I don’t believe they are shooting for a high temperature machine here, as the unit still has an open frame that is not so compatible with high temperature materials.
But this is entirely speculation at this point and Aleph Objects could change things up at any time. All we can do is wait for their announcement.