Gigabot X Combines Large Scale 3D Printing and Pellets
Tom Spendlove posted on March 21, 2018 |
re:3D is developing a new style pellet printer that will one day use recycled plastic.

Re:3D thinks big when it comes to 3D printing, working to make prints up to thirty times larger than current desktop models. However, a long term goal of this company full of manufacturing experts, engineers, and hobbyists is the ability to 3D print from recycled plastics. The next step toward reaching their sustainability goal is the Gigabot X, a large scale pellet extrusion 3D printer currently running a crowdfunding campaign.

The company’s current estimates say that their filament printing methods are ten times more expensive than the pelletized plastic, and print times might someday be up to seventeen times faster than filament printing. They say that pelletized printers are commercially available but not really on a small scale hobbyist platform.

Gigabot X will use pelletized plastic and a direct drive NEMA 23 stepper motor to push the melted pellets down the extrusion screw and onto the build surface. The screw has a 16:1 length to diameter ratio and is compatible with most 1/8 inch pellets. Current testing is focused on different pellet materials and automating the print settings, and this crowdfunding activity is primarily to raise money for the beta testing components.

Recently, Re:3D has scored awards from the We Work Global Creator network and the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research program. Samantha Lynne Snabes presented The Future is Garbage: 3D Printing from Recycled Plastic talk at South by Southwest this month, and the team updates their progress regularly on their Pellet-Extruder GitHub page. I’ve covered extrustion type 3D printers before and we currently have a version sitting in my lab, so it’s exciting to see the technology applied to Gigabot’s massive scale. The video here in the article is more of a status update for the current state of the pelletized printer, a more publicity friendly video is available on the campaign page. The campaign is a combination of fund raising for the project and soliciting people to be early machine adopters, and ends on April 23 with the five early adoption units expected to ship in December 2018.

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