Two physicists incorporated famed robotic technology in their LOCOOP Y to make 3D printing accessible and simple
In the thirty years since its creation in 1986, the 3D printer has evolved from an imagination of the future to a mainstay revolutionary tool, used by entrepreneurs across the globe to pioneer spectacular technological innovations with ease.
Nevertheless many of the 3D printers crowding today’s market are still ludicrously expensive, excluding small-scale makers from affording the opportunity to prototype. Others suffer productivity flaws, like slow printing speeds and misaligning axes, that can impede productive development.
South Korean astrophysicists affiliated with Seoul National University have created an accessible solution with their LOCOOP Y, an affordable and energy efficient desktop 3D printer armed with industrial robotic technology that has historically been used for precise work in places such as auto plants and packaging.
With less than a month remaining in their Indiegogo campaign, Co-founders Induk Lee and Yeo Myung Lim have raised over 100 per cent of their US$50,000 goal, proving the LOCOOP Y’s immediate mass appeal.
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The duo emphasized the importance of introducing a unique product for entrepreneurs, product designers, makers, architects, laypersons, and other consumers across the spectrum to engage with from the comfort and convenience of their own homes.
“3D printing has so much potential, but in order to truly make an impact we need to make it more accessible for a wider range of people. That is why we’ve made LOCOOP Y easy to use, low maintenance, and reliable,” the two physicists, both of whom hold Ph.Ds, explained to Geektime. “Our aim is to make 3D printing as easy as using inkjet printers.”
What makes the LOCOOP Y innovative is its use of Original Delta technology, modeled after Swiss professor Reymond Clavel’s early 1980s invention of the parallelogram robot with three universal jointed arms that continues to thrive in industrial production plants and surgery rooms today.
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Adapting the productive delta technology for 3D printing erases the need for carrier rails and allows the motors of the LOCOOP Y to move circularly. This, according to Lee and Lim, reduces the chance of layer shift and product breakdown, which are the two primary problems that plague competing Cartesian and Linear Delta 3D printers.
“[Our product has] small details that can make a huge difference for users, but are not embedded in most other 3D printers in [a] similar price range,” the physicists explained to Geektime. “We’ve added additional features that make LOCOOP Y extremely easy to operate, such as the intuitive touchscreen UI, turntable filament feeder, magnetic joints, and separable print bed that’s been optimised for [the biodegradable thermoplastic material most easily used for 3D prints, known as] PLA.”
The device is 50x47x60cm in size and features a large front-facing door; sizable removable bed; memory card slot; and touch screen interface. It can be assembled easily; is compatible with CURA slicers; and uses the standard 1.75mm PLA filament, available for purchase and use in the LOCOOP Y in an array of striking colors. As an added bonus, Lee and Lim’s 3D printer uses just 60 watts of energy, half of what conventional 3D printers exert.
The LOCOOP Y is a participant in the Paper Project, an incubator operated by Korean conglomerate INTOPS, the manufacturer of this 3D printer.
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The first of the 3D printers is expected to become available in December. Priced at under US$1,500, “every printer comes with a 1 kg spool of filament, a 4GB SD card and a 100-240V 60W power adapter,” the campaign explains. The LOCOOP Y may be more expensive than its competition, which includes the US$220 FLSUN 3D Metal Frame Kossel Delta DIY KIT, but is a solid investment for someone seriously interested in creating three-dimensional designs without complication.
Its advantages, after all, are plentiful. Besides being easy to use and appealing to people of all skill sets, this 3D printer truly leaves little margins for failure or mistake in prototyping products, whether in laboratory facility or a household basement.
An area for Lee and Lim to expand their LOCOOP Y’s capabilities lies in its filament compatibility. Creators using the 3D printer to create plastic parts will be sensationally satisfied with the model’s current capabilities, but those needing to print objects with greater durability would be interested in using filaments differing from PLA.
ABS filaments, which are used to create functional parts because they are are more impact resistant, and exotic 3D printer filaments, which are hybrid composites of thermoplastics and specialty materials, are not currently usable with the LOCOOP Y.
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“Over the next five years we will see a rapid advance in the range of print materials (as filaments), which means that the application of 3D printing technology will also broaden dramatically,” the co-founders predict.
Nevertheless their imaginative innovations in the realm of 3D printing do not stop at the LOCOOP Y. The duo dreams of revolutionising 3D printing technology to aid printing houses on Mars.
“For us to be able to live on Mars, we need to send automated 3D printers to build the settlements in advance. This is simply impossible with the current 3D printing technology, where a 3D printer must be larger than an object you wish to print. With our original delta technology, you can print objects that are larger than the printer,” Lee and Lim detailed to Geektime.
“Recently, it’s been confirmed that you can build concrete buildings out of the dirt on Mars. With this technology and our original delta 3D printing combined, building human settlements on Mars can be done.”
The article Everyone can prototype with this new South Korean 3D printer first appeared on Geektime.
The post Everyone can prototype with this new South Korean 3D printer appeared first on e27.
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