Among the many developments in additive manufacturing technology on show at last week's Euromold were two machines that demonstrated just how big 3D printing is becoming. Built by the Berlin-based startup company Big Rep and by Opiliones 3D, a recently formed company by a group of Dutch mechanical engineers, these printers were hard to overlook.
The Opiliones printer was the odder-looking of the two - the name means "daddy-long-legs" in Latin, which it resembles. "The printer is basically a deltabot with a Rostock design," said Peter Sluiter of Opiliones. The design uses parallelograms in the arms to restrict the movement of the end effector to movement in the X, Y or Z direction: in other words, a vertical linear motion is used instead of rotation. The printer consists of three vertical columns (two steel tubes per column), arranged in an equilateral circle, on which carriages move up and down. The carriages are connected to three effector arms, which are connected to the end effector. "It's fascinating to watch," Sluiter said. In fact, the movement of the printer is mesmerizing.