Now that’s one heck of a Maker’s ‘dream weaver.’
A group of Digital Craft Lab students recently developed a seven-foot-tall 3D printer, aptly dubbed Space Weaver, that is designed to create ultra-lightweight woven structures with fibrous materials, rather than the plastics usually extruded by similar machines.
Led by our friend Michael Shiloh and fellow Future Cities Lab instructor Jason Kelly Johnson, the students utilized a three-axis gantry system (similar to FDM) for creating a platform that can construct objects comprised of carbon fiber and fiberglass. With a maximum build height of five-feet, objects printed on the Space Weaver are produced using a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio that results in no waste and requires no support material.
During an eight-week build period, the young Makers approached the Space Weaver project with three different skillsets: machine building (including the frame, mechanical components, CNC gantry, electronics and spools), programming and material science. The team selected a Shapeoko 2 CNC instead of the typical 3D printer mechanisms due to its durability as well as its ability to be modified for a larger build volume.
The Space Weaver is based on a Synthetos V8 TinyG (ATxmega192), while a 24V 6.35A power supply drives all five stepper motors. Both components are enclosed in a laser-cut acrylic case for protection.
Want to know more about the build? You can find a step-by-step breakdown of the students’ project here. Meanwhile, you can check out the team’s latest creation: autonomous 3D printing robots.