Amphibious Rex

Leapfrog Bolt is a Supercharged IDEX 3D Printer

Leapfrog Bolt

The Leapfrog Bolt is unveiled at the Additive Manufacturing Show 2016, will its cutting edge features leave the competition green with envy?

Another day at the Additive Manufacturing Show in Amsterdam, another 3D printer making a play for our hearts and minds. The new Leapfrog Bolt is an imposing beast of a machine that takes its cues from the BCN3D Sigma. That is to say, an Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) system rocking two spools for fused filament fabrication.

Leapfrog is a Dutch 3D printer manufacturer based in Alphen aan den Rijn. With fingers in many pies, the Bolt wasn’t their only reveal at the show; there was also the Xcel, a monolithic FDM machine that towers 3 meters in height. But the Bolt perhaps has greater potential for wider adoption, if only because it won’t kill you if it falls on top of you.

More than just a clone of the Sigma, the Leapfrog Bolt throws in some tantalising features of its own. In addition to the IDEX, the other thing you notice is the completely enclosed build chamber (with an Activated HEPA Carbon filter whirring in the background). That should ease any anxieties about prints warping, or inhaling nasty toxic fumes while operating your theatre of dreams.

Classy teaser video alert:

Leapfrog Bolt is IDEX Refined

The thing to note about dual-headed 3D printers is that manufacturers sometimes have to sacrifice build space to accommodate the extra complexity and hardware. The Sigma is our reference point here, and the build volume is only 210 x 297 x 210 mm relative to its physical dimensions of 465 x 440 x 680 mm.

The Leapfrog Bolt has thrown caution to the winds in this respect, so that it has a build volume of 277 x 335 x 205 mm. That’s big enough for a replicator mode and a mirror mode — features we don’t recall being possible in the Sigma — but with a corresponding bloat in physical dimensions to a hefty 810 x 700 x 780 mm.

Other features include local network connectivity, filament detection, and a webcam. The machine can be operated via a 7 inch touchscreen display on the Bolt, or via any device with wifi and a web browser. Leapfrog boasts you can upload your print job to the Bolt’s built-in storage, transfer files from machine to the other, and start, pause, or stop each print-job remotely.

What else? The Leapfrog Bolt can produce objects with a layer thickness of between 0.1 and 0.35 mm, has nozzle temperatures of up to 400 degrees centigrade, and a heated bed of up to 90 degrees centigrade. These features are all important if you’re planning to look beyond ABS and PLA and work with next generation filaments like PETG, PC, or Nylon.

Overall, we liked the look of the Leapfrog Bolt a lot. It’s a big and imposing 3D printer — and likely expensive, so perhaps more suited for industrial use. But definitely a big plus to see the IDEX system being implemented and even improved upon.

leapfrog bolt