For the last post in Design Spotlight, MAKEiT, Inc‘s CEO and CTO, Salomo Murtonen, gives us insight on their latest project, codename: “Bigfoot”. We ask him about the design, which MISUMI components they used and why. Read on!
Q1: Give an overview of your newest design, Codename: “Bigfoot”, specifications, and capabilities.
MAKEiTⓇ “Bigfoot” is a large format, multi-headed 3D printing solution. Unlike common commercial 3D printers, Bigfoot is highly customizable in terms of overall size, the number of tool heads, tool head capabilities, and the form factor of installation. Our current working test-unit has 2 gantries (one print head per gantry) and a printing area of 1600 mm x 700mm x 800mm. The final product is configurable. Customer will have a choice of up to 4 independent gantries, various bed sizes, and temperature specifications high enough to print advanced aerospace-grade materials.
Q2: What is the advantage of using this machine?
The simplest advantage is to be able to print very large parts in one piece, without cutting objects into sections for later assembly. When you put that into the context of industries that can make use of large 3D printed parts, it allows a new level of applications. Even with basic printing materials, printing at this scale has huge benefits for things like mold-making for composite parts. When you include higher-level industrial grade materials the functional applications really open up. Thanks to its multi-gantry design, a large part can be printed by multiple print heads simultaneously, drastically reducing the print time. There will be other options as well, such as using each head individually as independent machines making different parts; running multiple heads in tandem to create duplicates or mirror-image parts simultaneously and combining materials of various properties together into one object.
There will be other options as well, such as using each head individually as independent machines making different parts; running multiple heads in tandem to create duplicates or mirror-image parts simultaneously and combining materials of various properties together into one object.
On top of that, we continued with our space-saving approach to design, meaning that even though Bigfoot can provide a large printable area it has a comparably small actual footprint. We understand business real estate is expensive. Unlike other large format 3D printers that require large floor space, MAKEiTⓇ Bigfoot offers an option of wall mount or stand alone placement. Customers can still take advantage of wall-mounted Bigfoot even they can’t afford extra floor space.
Other applications for large-format 3D printing are sand casting, investment casting, fiberglass mold making, customized parts for the automotive industry, full-scale prop making in the entertainment industry, furniture and interior decor, etc. We are very excited to see the work that our customers generate once “Bigfoot” hits the primetime.
Q3: What was the biggest challenge in designing this printer?
The biggest challenge so far has been the heated bed. We need a very large heated bed that is also incredibly light. Our other printers use solid blocks of aluminum, which have properties perfectly suited to printers of that size but would be far too heavy for this application. Our chief engineer Salomo is excellent at generating effective “ out of the box” approaches. We’ve developed a special blend of materials combined into a sandwich panel structure that allows us to get the capabilities we need without so much weight, but it has taken a lot of trials to arrive there.
Q4: What MISUMI parts did you use and why?
By weight, the majority of Codename: “Bigfoot’s” materials are from MISUMI, including aluminum extrusion frames 8 series, 6 series, 5 series, end caps, insertion nuts, brackets. We love the wide selection and quality of precision MISUMI parts can deliver. They are truly best for designing automation related projects, thanks to the lightweight materials and precise tolerances. The configurable length feature allows us to order exactly what we need without worrying about if it will fit, or if we must customize it afterward. The whole process helps us move faster in our product development.
Q5: What is the best way to contact MAKEiT, Inc.?
Please feel free to reach out to us. We will do our best to answer any questions you have. Our contact information is listed below:
Phone: 626-470-7938 9am-5pm PST
Cover photo from MAKEiT, Inc