Garage Bay 3D printer for large objects

Is anybody making a 3D printer that is made to fit in a single bay of a garage? Like something the size of a large SUV? Gigabot comes close, but it still smaller.

For such a device, I'd like to make a modular head with a lot of potential interchangeable heads:

1. All the typical FDM
2. Milling for CNC type operation.
3. Laser for cutting
4. MIG welding head
5. Arm with gripper for auto-assembly
6. Scanner head
7. FDM using atypical materials, such as dry slurry epoxy (with microspheres or flocked cotton)

Combine this with mobile robot arms to manage work pieces, and you're coming close to a complete fab lab.

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It would be very hard to do milling,except on foams, with the kind of machine you could self-build.

There are many groups doing FDM on that, and bigger scales.

Trouble is, cost probably scales with volume. You're beyond stepper drives and into the realms of long expensive ballscrews and AC servo drives. And to be practical, it needs to be really fast (build time scales with volume)

GarrettH2 (author)  steveastrouk3 years ago

Thanks for pointing out the potential limitations. Indeed FabTotum has only *light* milling capability, so maybe it makes sense to restrain the requirements there.

One could also learn from 3dMonstr which has 4 extruders on a single head. If they're arranged for parallel operation, you could conceivably accelerate print times. That would be -interesting- code to optimize a print file for parallel printing from original single threaded.

Be tempting to look at arms rather than gantry based machines, if you want to get serious, but the precision would probably go down the pan if you did. It would STILL be cool to build a seriously big machine - but what would you really want to make on it ? I'd like to print a house someday.

GarrettH2 (author)  steveastrouk3 years ago

The one thing that got me thinking in this direction is the process of making molds for boats and yachts is currently very labor intensive. Printing, cutting, milling, and assembling mold pieces seems like a way to go reduce labor and build times.

Milling a big foam block is likely to be the fastest method.

GarrettH2 (author)  steveastrouk3 years ago

A single segment would fit in a 5x5x10 volume. I can't seem to find any blocks that large, but perhaps if a sheet was pre-bent, fixed rigid with a wet epoxy slurry, then milled to the exact shape, that might work. Thanks for the idea!

GarrettH2 (author)  steveastrouk3 years ago

As far as house printing goes, I think we'd be farther along if we redefined "extruder" and expanded assumed limitations. Instead of extruding a relatively homogeneous mixture of some fuseable goo, what if the extruder could lay bricks instead? Extruder Input: Bricks, cement, water; output: a wall of your designed shape?

Second what Steve said and add that to move the head around quickly and accurately, you will also need a very rigid frame. A friend built a 3d printer from scratch and his frame wasn't as rigid as he hoped. Believe me, just a little bit of wobble will ruin anything you are trying print/mill.

That said, good luck! I'd love to see someone pull off a huge printer like this.