A mysterious video trailer suggests a new, inexpensive LulzBot 3D printer could be soon on the market.
LulzBot is now produced by North Dakota-based FAME 3D, which purchased the assets of Colorado-based Aleph Objects, which had created the brand and the initial technologies. That company’s products and open source focus led them to be come one of the world’s largest manufacturers of desktop 3D printers.
But things went a bit sideways and the LulzBot brand and technologies were quickly picked up by FAME 3D, a new startup in Fargo that no one seemed to know about. We investigated and found out much about FAME 3D’s background. After some early challenges moving things from state to state, LulzBot devices were once again flowing off the assembly line to happy customers. Evidently FAME 3D has managed to maintain a good chunk of the original LulzBot client base, and they appear to be quite successful at this time.
Since the switchover the main LulzBot models continue to be produced (TAZ Workhorse, TAZ Pro, Mini 2, TAZ Pro XT, and TAZ Pro S.) However, FAME 3D has been doing some tweaking, as demonstrated by the addition of 1.75mm filament support to the LulzBot line through a partnership with Slice Engineering.
This was quite a moment, as the LulzBot brand had been one of the very few remaining producers of equipment using the 2.85mm filament standard. While you can still obtain machines of that style from LulzBot, the message here is the 1.75mm has been recognized.
It’s been almost a year since FAME 3D took over, and one wonders whether they’re to introduce a new machine after having successfully taken on the manufacturing of the existing LulzBot equipment.
It turns out they are indeed working on a new device, as hinted in this rather mysterious video promo:
As always, mysterious videos require some analysis to speculate on what’s really happening here. This is what we know from the video:
- LulzBot will add a low-cost (~US$750) 3D printer “soon”
- The unnamed new device is targeted for “personal” use
- Many of the parts of this mystery machine will be 3D printed, as seen in the image at top
That’s about all we can officially see from the video, but if we sneakily enhance some of the overly-dark images, we can see a bit more, but not much. Here’s one view:
Here we can see that this is a filament device, with what is very likely 1.75mm filament. There are a number of interesting knobs and gears visible, which are either for stepper motors or perhaps for making easy adjustments.
We can’t see much or any of the print plate, but the strange gear at the bottom, which actually rotates during one segment in the video, is intriguing. What’s going on here?
Here’s another enhanced view, showing what appears to be several of the mystery components in a semi-circle:
Could these be interchangeable toolheads? They all seem similar, but each subtly different. All seem to have fans on top at an angle, suggesting they are hot ends / extruders. Perhaps the mystery machine will be able to handle many different material types by quick-swapping toolheads?
That’s about all I can squeeze out of this limited data, and we’ll have to stay tuned for future announcements from FAME 3D.