As they say, everything is bigger in Texas… including the 3D printers.
Nearly two years ago, Austin-based startup re:3D launched a super successful Kickstarter campaign for its Gigabot 3D printer, which garnered over $250,000 in a matter of weeks. The machine was not only large in size, but packed with a plethora of features. Most notably, a print volume that allowed for it to construct objects up to 30 times the size of other traditional desktop 3D printers at the time.
Two years later, the folks at re:3D have once again proven to be a crowdfunding success with their Open Gigabot concept 3D printer. Unlike countless other companies seeking to unveil the most lightweight, pint-sized gadgets imaginable, they have decided to take the opposite route. First unveiled at SXSW a few weeks ago, the team aspires to bring the DIY community the “most personal, most Maker-accesible and most inherently useful human-scale 3D printer on the planet.”
As its name suggests, the device is entirely open-source, offering users with unmatched transparency from its hardware to its software and everything in between. Constructed out of aluminum, the Open Gigabot allows users to attach anything to its frame without drilling holes, while extra headers with 3.3V, 5V and 12V at both the control board and the extruder give Makers the ability to personalize their own experience.
Impressively, the Open Gigabot boasts a build envelope of 24” x 24” x 20” yet is still super mobile and easily accessible. A touchscreen graphical user interface enables simple control and remote printing from afar. Additionally, users can seamlessly connect to a wireless network via Wi-Fi, USB or Ethernet.
With the DIY community in mind, the re:3D crew designed their latest machine with an expanded error detection set that reliably notifies Makers of filament feed errors, low filament, stepper motor drive faults and temperature issues, among any other problems one may encounter during a job.
“To enable all these new features we also created a brand new controller. Completely open-source, of course. Built as a shield for the popular Arduino, it includes a host of small but important features to make it expandable and customizable,” the company writes.
The new controller for OpenGB is loosely based on the highly-popular, open-source RAMPS 1.4 control and mounted on an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560). What’s more, board includes seven sockets for stepper motor drivers, three thermocouple support circuits, four thermo resistors, eight end stop terminals, five power MOSFETS, two serial connections with logic level conversion, input for induction bed sensor, hobby servo motor headers, a 12V cooling fan header, a header for all unused pins, and software-controlled stepper motor current.
As for its software, it is written in either Python or using the Arduino IDE. Beyond that, OpenGB’s UI is a pre-flight checklist that guides users through everything from leveling their build plate, to uploading their files wirelessly, to fine-tuning advanced controls.
Interested? While its Kickstarter campaign has just come to a successful end (the team raised $50,239), you can still head over to its official page to learn more. In the meantime, you can also check out MAKE: Magazine’s recent writeup here.