Buzz Technology Limited’s 3D printer design is based on standard FDM technology but it can also reach for parts from a tray and integrate non-printable components into a 3D printed object.
The components can include electronic modules, wheels, electric motor power drives, cameras, sensors, remote control and all kinds of stuff so that at the end of the production process you could get a working 3d printed device. They have demonstrated it on a toy car where the frame was 3D printed with different filaments and then the powered wheels modules placed in it.
This is a a new approach in commercial machine but many questions remain open. It would be interesting to see what type of software drives it and what is the g-code behind magnetic embedding arm or how does one program what part to take out of the tray and where to place it. Modeling everything and getting it to work seems like a very complex endeavor for a skilled CAD operator or designer but the idea behind it is to use some sort of manual g-code adjustments that will be learned in company webinars. The wiring of the parts is also not shown in detail so the parts are highly likely stand-alone modules but there are three nozzles that can, in theory, extrude plastic, conductive and support / separation materials so electrical connections could be made with some sort of conductive material.
Here are some technical specifications of IR3:
- 3D printing is a rapidly evolving technology, upgrade friendly design helps keep the machine at the cutting edge.
- Swap-in-swap-out print nozzle unit enable main plastic, electrical connections and support/separation material to be printed without manual filament changes.
- Advanced hot ends enable speed or accuracy with 0.4 to 1.2mm nozzle options.
- Large build volume (450mm x 550mm x 135mm)
- In a small machine (only 255mm deep when folded away)
- Locally manufactured in the UK with other locations to follow
- Price: some 3350£ trough their KS campaign
The project has a Kickstarter campaign with more detailed video: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/buzztechnology/the-industrial-revolution-iii-become-a-global-desi , however 17 days before the end they have gathered only some 10000£ from 50000£ they are raising. The company uses some sort of unclear and proprietary licensing system they call “fair source” which they interpret as supporting open source and innovation. There are additional plans to provide webinars and education for the users and developers of future products and a sort of internal web based marketplace / collaboration suite for designers named “MatchMaker and DealMaker” .
It is not sure at this point will the IR3 reach its funding goal, but the concept remains intriguing and could inspire the entire new ecosystem of 3D printers and embeddable parts market even if it fails. I could imagine a big player like LEGo offering some system similar to this where you would print your plastic structure and use their modules to power it.
Company page: http://www.buzztechnology.co.uk/