Posted By Lucie Gaget on Nov 6, 2019 |
Additive manufacturing evolves quickly. Every month, we see new technologies, new 3D printable materials, and new game-changing 3D printers. Among all of these changes, we can also see that trends and 3D printing uses are evolving. We notice a growing interest in large 3D printers from both consumers and small businesses. But where does this interest come from? What are the applications of additive manufacturing requiring large volume 3D printers?
Let’s discover together how these large 3D printers are used, and what are the best 3D printers currently available.
Large-format 3D printers: The natural evolution of 3D printing
What are the advantages of large 3D printers?
For the moment the advantages of additive manufacturing are not really related to the size of the prints. However, this interest is now growing for both small and big 3D printers and especially large volume 3D printers.
Professional large scale 3D printers are great to print big parts in one piece instead of several ones. It is also a solution for small production series, by putting more items in the same batch. 3D printer manufacturers are progressively pushing the boundaries of 3D printing, and unveiling outstanding 3D printers with great printing qualities and bigger volumes.
We can notice an evolution of 3D printing use: people are more confident about additive manufacturing technology and now want to give life to bigger projects using this technology. The applications of additive manufacturing are not only centered on prototyping anymore, this technology is also used for production. Indeed, 3D printing seems to be more and more reliable for professionals and they are now willing to use it for more diverse applications. That is why 3D printing at a larger scale is a natural evolution of additive manufacturing uses.
How to 3D print at a large scale?
There are different possibilities: 3D printers manufacturers are actually developing more and more machines with impressively big build volume. FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printers are a big part of the large scale 3D printers market.
Much bigger machines using the same principle as FDM technology are also developed to build at an architectural scale, meaning that houses, buildings, and urban structures, can almost be 3D printed in one part thanks to these huge 3D machines. The only difference is their size and the fact that they are not 3D printing filament!
Indeed, we can see now that bigger printers such as concrete 3D printers are totally pushing boundaries of additive manufacturing by building bigger volumes. We will talk about these huge machines later in this blog post.
First, let’s see what are the best large volume 3D printers for professionals.
What are the best large 3D printers for professionals?
gCreate gMax 2
This desktop 3D printer is clearly one of the biggest 3D machines available on the market, and offering the possibility to print using a wide variety of plastic 3D printing materials such as PLA and TPU. This build volume of this 3D printing machine is 457 x 457 x 609 mm, which is quite huge for a 3D printer using the Fused Deposition Modeling technology.
AirWolf Evo 22
With a 305x305x578 mm build volume, this machine is made for engineers and small businesses. This printer also has nice features such as auto-leveling, print recovery, and an air filtration system.
This printer’s extruder can reach 315°C, and the printer can even heat in enclosed areas, which leads to new possibilities to print complex materials.
BigRep launched a professional large-format 3D printer with its new BigRep Pro. What’s the build volume of this huge machine? 1005x1005x1005 mm! This industrial 3D printer is a professional tool, targeting engineers and designers. The goal with this machine is clearly to associate speed and precision for large scale 3D printing projects, using industrial-grade materials.
MakerGear Ultra One
This MakerGear Ultra One 3D printer is a professional FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) machine. This professional printer can print using a lot of different filaments from ABS to PLA and Nylon. The maximum build size of this MakerGear printer is 406x356x330 mm.
Creality CR-10 S5
With a 500x500x500 mm build volume this Creality CR-10 printer totally has its place in this top about large 3D printers. This is not the first try of the Shenzhen Creality 3D Technology firm, who unveiled many desktop 3D printer versions since 2016.
LulzBot TAZ Pro
The LulzBot TAZ 6 printer was already offering great possibilities for small businesses with a 280x280x250 mm maximum size. But more recently, the LulzBot TAZ Pro machine has been unveiled with an addition of 35 mm on the Z axis. This new printer is double the price of its predecessor, but also appears to offer great new features and improvements, such as the Taz Pro Dual Extruder, made to print even more accurate and reliable 3D parts.
Zortrax M300 Plus
Zortrax released its biggest printer with the M300 Plus. 300x300x300 mm and includes some interesting printer features, such as an onboard camera, allowing users to check and monitor their printing process remotely. This printer has a great 3D printing quality, but only works with proprietary materials, which happen to be more expensive for users than a printer able to print all types of filaments.
Modix Big 60
This big plastic 3D printer has an impressive build volume of 610x610x610 mm, offering dual extrusion, various nozzle sizes, a filament run-out sensor, a touch screen and an enclosed frame. This additive manufacturing system is compatible with various filaments from PLA to TPU.
If the BigRep Pro is already quite impressive, BigRep EDGE promise to be even more efficient and bigger. This printer will have a 1500 x 800 x 600 mm build size. This 3D printer is not available yet, but should be on the market in 2020!
3D printing at an architectural scale: The best printers!
Lets just check some of the most impressive 3D printers made to build architectural structures, or even 3D printed houses.
Developed by Andrey Rudenko with his company Total Kustom are massive. The Stroybot 2 has been used for this project, but also for the construction of a hotel in the Philippines. This last structure also has a 3D printed jacuzzi.
XtreeE 3D printers
XtreeE is a cutting edge company, working on revolutionizing the construction and architecture industries, through large-scale 3D Printing of concrete. The company is using impressive 3D printers to manufacture complex designs, layer by layer, at a large scale.
The World’s largest 3D printer
This 3D printer is not printing concrete! Indeed, recently, the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center built a 5 000 pound and 25 foot boat using a 3D printer. The printer won the title of world’s largest 3D printer with three Guinness World Records.
The Vulcan 3D printer
The Vulcan 3D printer is a 3D machine developed by New Story and Icon. The machine can be easily moved to developing countries and can even operate without electricity. The printer is capable of building a 600 to 800 square foot house (55- 75 square meters) in just 24 hours. This can be a really big change for the future of housing and fighting homelessness.
BetAbram’s 3D printers
BetAbram is a 3D house printer manufacturer. Their goal is to build more affordable houses thanks to their 3D printer. Indeed, this technology could be helpful in any region of the world struck in extreme poverty.
Here are the three different 3D printer models developed by BetAbram:
– Model P3, a machine made for amateurs
– Model P2, a little more advanced 3D printer
– Model P1, a professional machine, made to build houses. This machine can 3D print an object of 18 x 9 x 2.5m.
What are other possibilities to print big parts, without investing in expensive 3D printers?
These large 3D printers currently represent a big investment and using an industrial additive manufacturing machine is not that easy, especially for small businesses. Indeed, implementing a professional 3D printer in your business will also mean training technicians and learning how to operate the machine to get all the perfect parts you need.
All of this will necessarily cost time and money. That is why, depending on your needs, it can be better to start working with a 3D printing service. 3D printing experts will know how to operate industrial 3D machines in order to manufacture your 3D objects.
You can order your parts on our online 3D printing service and get your parts printed and delivered at your door. We don’t offer the possibility to access large scale 3D printers yet, but several options are still available for you.
For example, by working on a design, by yourself, or with the precious advice of our industrial designers, you might succeed in developing a large scale project, with a little assembly process. Thanks to our service, you will have the possibility to create parts using our plastic, metal, and resin 3D printers, with professional quality. The only thing you have to do right now is to upload your STL files on Sculpteo’s website!
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