This commercial-grade 3D printer lets Makers print up to four objects at once.
While 3D printers on Kickstarter are seemingly a dime a dozen these days, those that are capable of garnering nearly $200,000 in funds are much rarer. The Stacker 3D team recently joined forces with filament manufacturer ColorFabb to launch what they’re calling an “affordable commercial-grade 3D printer” dubbed STACKER.
Most commercial 3D printers on the market today are not only extremely slow, they’re ridiculously expensive as well. As a result, Makers are left out in the cold with no other choice than to turn to consumer-level machines. This is something the Minneapolis-based startup is looking to change. Designed with offices, schools, Makerspaces and small to medium-sized companies in mind, STACKER boasts a number of unique features that will surely set itself apart from the ever-growing 3DP pack.
For one, the machine is equipped with multi-print technology that enables users to print up to four of the same objects at the same time, and with up to four different extruders, the objects can even be extruded in various types of filaments. STACKER has three modes: single-part, Multi-part, and multi-material.
- Single-part mode: Print one part with one print head.
- Multi-part mode: Print multiple copies of the same exact part. This mode uses one head per part.
- Multi-material mode: Print one part with more than one material type. This mode allows users to extrude multiple materials from more than one hot-end onto the same part.
STACKER is available in both desktop and mobile configurations. Users can add its full height frame option to their desktop model and caster option, and can have an ultimate mobile printer right then and there. The casters have a built-in suspension system for smooth rolling. The industrial-duty gadget also has an expandable Z-axis, meaning users can easily increase the printing height of their desktop printer from 220mm to over 600mm. What’s more, the recently-unveiled printer packs a huge build volume. Desktop models posses a print size of 250 x 450 x 220mm, while full height mobile models have a print size of 250 x 450 x 600mm.
“STACKER is more than just a fast and affordable commercial grade 3D printer; it’s also highly functional. For example, it can print huge and tall parts, up to 24” (600mm). This invention opens up a whole new world of possibilities. STACKER also ships with our new HYBRID hot-end. This reliable new hot-end was optimized to extrude our new generation of high tech composite filaments,” STACKER founder Norston Fontaine explains.
STACKER’s versatile hot-end enables super quick nozzle changes, which come in two different types: one for lower melt filaments (like PLA and ABS), the other for higher melt filaments (like Tg Co-polyesters and some nylons). Meanwhile, the aptly named HYBRID was specifically designed to run composite filaments like ColorFabb’s new carbon fiber XT-CF20, and uses a special grade of stainless steel to dramatically improve nozzle life.
“By engineering two different nozzle types, we have eliminated jamming and other common hot end failures. Quick change nozzles also make it easy to change tip sizes,” Fontaine adds.
Furthermore, STACKER has custom polymer bearings that can be adjusted to achieve extremely tight tolerances. As the company notes, these bearings do not use grease or oil, nor do they require any maintenance. These bearings can also be used in harsh environments filled with contaminants and moisture, and are highly-effective at absorbing vibrations. Unlike with metal, composite bearings do not cause accelerated shaft wear during rapid back-and-forth movements, which is very common with 3D printing.
Built around an AZTEEG X3 PRO (ATmega2560), the device has a maximum print speed of 150mm/second, a top travel speed of 250mm/second and can be connected either by USB or SD card. STACKER runs on its own customized version of Repetier and is compatible with other 3D printing software, such as Cura, Slic3r, Pronterface and Simplify3d.
Other notable specs include:
- Printer size: 26.5” x 15.75” x 28” (675mm x 400mm x 720mm)
- Print area:
- MAX X/Y print area one head printing: 10” (255mm) x 18” (458mm)
- MAX X/Y print area two heads printing: 10” (255mm) x 8.7” (220mm)
- MAX X/Y print area three heads printing: 10” (255mm) x 5.46” (138mm)
- MAX X/Y print area four heads printing: 10” (255mm) x 3.9” (100mm)
- Printer weight: 30kg (65lbs)
- Nozzle diameter: 0.5mm (option nozzle sizes: 0.3mm, 0.4mm, 0.6mm, 0.8mm and 1mm)
- Build plate: Tempered glass, sandblasted, removable
- Print bed: Heated, custom PCB, 250 WATT
- Layer Resolution: 100-1000 microns
- Filament type: Most all types of high-quality filament, 1.75 mm diameter
- Connectivity: USB, SD card
- Power supply input: 100-240VAC 8.5A
- Power supply output: 27A at 24VDC
- Operating temperature range: 50-100 °F (10-38 °C)
- Operating noise: 35-70 dB
Interested? Head over to STACKER’s official Kickstarter page, where the team has already nearly doubled its initial $100,000 goal. Shipment for early bird backers is expected to begin in June 2015, with regular delivery slated for July 2015.