They say all men are really little boys at heart.
With that in mind, what kind of a 3D printer would you build and what would name it, if you could?
You would make it as big as you possibly could, and you would name it after something cool, like a dinosaur, wouldn't you?
Come on, admit it!
That's exactly what ART 3D CEO Jason Simpson did.
The Melbourne, Australia-based company's first 3D printer has a build area of 40 inches wide by 40 inches deep by 20 inches high.
Oh yeah, and it's called "the Sabertooth."
The company's second creation, "the Mammoth" has an even bigger build area at 40 inches wide by 40 inches deep by 40 inches high.
"When I was between the ages of 6 and 8, I used to play with Lego blocks and progressed on to Lego Technical," Simpson said. "Back then, as a kid, I would dream of building a machine that could make things from Lego blocks. That was my very first thought of additive manufacturing. That was over 40 years ago and the dream of additive manufacturing had never left my mind."
Simpson's father started ART 3D in 1992, specializing in manufacturing pressed metal components, roll formed profiles and equipment used in those processes. However, a downturn in the Australian manufacturing market made them see the need to look into other industries and products.
They moved into manufacturing medical and advanced imaging equipment, as well as X-ray systems for universities and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. Simpson, who has been in engineering for 30 years, also programmed race car simulators and video games.
About a year ago, Simpson decided to get into the 3D printing market as well.
"To make it work, we would have to make the biggest and best printers out there," Simpson said. "We would need to make them, not only more (functional), but a lot cheaper too."
The Mammoth is essentially identical to the Sabertooth, only with a larger z-axis capability.
They have four heat zones on the build platform that are controllable via your personal computer.
The printers also have 80-watt hot-ends on the extruders to cope with nozzles up to and beyond 1 mm.
They also offer four- and eight-extruder copy attachments, which divide the bed into four print sections. These are ideal for either two-color models or two-material models, such as ABS for the model and PVA for supports.
The two printers have an achievable accuracy of .035 with layer heights from .1 mm to 1 mm.
Simpson is not trying to get in on the materials market. The printers work with any plastic filament that other printers use. They can handle four, 15-kilogram spools or 1-pound reels of print material.
"We will be offering optional heads for our printer to print things like chocolate and other similar food and pastes in large volumes in July of this year," Simpson said.
Does a 40 inch by 40 inch by 40 inch block of chocolate sound good?
The printers start at $81,500 and aren't heavy on the aesthetics at this point.
"At this stage, we are only offering our printer in a raw aluminum finish," Simpson said. "We could add a façade around it, and charge more money, if a customer wants us to."