MRRF, the Midwest RepRap Festival, is in full swing right now. The venue is packed, attendance is way up this year, and the panorama is impressive:
MRRF is not really a trade show. Yes, there are companies here (Google is picking up the tab for Chinese food tonight), but this is assuredly a community-based event around open source hardware. That said, Lulzbot is here, SeeMeCNC is hosting, E3D, and Ultimachine are all here. This year, there are a few new printers.
Lulzbot’s Taz 6 – the latest update to their flagship printer made its first public appearance at MRRF this year. A product update from Lulzbot isn’t like a product announcement from a normal company. Lulzbot is using rapid prototyping for manufacturing (!). They can iterate quickly and release two new printers in the time it takes Stratasys to come up with a design. This also means the releases are incremental.
Click past the break for more photos and updates.
The new Taz 6 includes a tower of sorts, replacing the small box of electronics on the side of the Taz 5. This sheet metal tower holds all of the electronics, including the integrated power supply, LCD, and control boards. Lulzbot will be selling this tower separately, a very cool announcement considering they’ve caught a little bit of flak from making the Taz 6 a little harder to build at home from source.
Also from Lulzbot is an improved dual-head extruder. This new tool head has a metal frame that bumps right up against the x-axis rail. It’s extremely solid, and produces some very nice quality prints.
SeeMeCNC has been working on a small delta printer, the Eris, for a very long time. It’s finally done. The key design element of the Eris is that nearly all the parts are injection molded. While this is in direct contrast to Lulzbot’s philosophy of manufacturing their printers on 3D printers, the Eris is quite nice.
One innovative feature is bed leveling via accelerometer. The Eris has a small accelerometer board in the toolhead, allowing the controller board to sense when the nozzle hits the bed. The nozzle touches three points on the bed, and level correction happens in software.
E3D is out in Indiana again this year, and they have a lot of stuff to show off. Everything from an improved Wade’s extruder to custom dissolvable filament. We’re quickly approaching the time where dual extrusion should be standard on all 3D printers.
This year, E3D launched their own line of 3D printers to sell alongside the tens of thousands of hotends they ship every year. It’s called the BigBox, and yes, it’s a big box.
There will be further updates this weekend, this is just the mid-day roundup. Be sure to check out the live stream from the event.