Printrbot and Polar3D collaborate on the Printrbelt; with an infinite build on the Z-axis, it takes a radical angle on desktop 3D printing.
The 3D printing community has caught a strange new fever, and it’s all about the Z-axis. The concept in a nutshell: if you take a fused filament fabrication 3D printer and position the print-head at a 45 degree angle over a print bed that doubles as a conveyor belt, you can theoretically have an infinite build space. Sounds a bit loopy, right?
And yet, somehow, it actually works. Prototype hardware has already surfaced on Kickstarter, where Dutch startup Blackbelt is seeking funding to mass produce their own infinite build 3D printer. Elsewhere, Opencreators has a model that dispenses with angles but still wants to automate production on the Z-axis.
But why bother waiting for crowdfunding campaigns to hit their goals (and eye-rolling with resignation as the shipping delays kick in). Early adopters can buy one now, today, from Printrbot for $1,999. It’s called the Printrbelt, it’s the fruits of a collaboration with Polar3D, and it’s a thing of beauty.
Let’s skip over the logistical hurdles for a second. Let’s not get hung up on questions about software, or patents, or how exactly you’d be printing complex models with bridges and overhangs. Instead, let’s celebrate the crazy innovative spirit that possessed the folks at these two companies to just forge ahead and build one.
In practice, the way it works is that Polar3D supplies the cloud software to process the 3D printing files. That takes the heavy lifting out of the workflow, so new users needn’t be intimated by this new approach to digital fabrication. Polar3D have been working on “infinite Z” hardware designs and software since 2014.
Moreover, access to the cloud software is entirely free, since Polar3D will receive a cut from every Printrbelt sold. That said, Printrbot does not guarantee compatibility with any third party software or operating system. For the time being, Printrbelt requires access to the Polar3D cloud to operate.
Those technical specs in full:
What do you reckon? Are you a fearless maker, ready to journey into an exciting new frontier in desktop 3D printing? Or do you have doubts about the viability of the concept? Sound off in the comments.