By: John Ahladis, 2BOT physical Modeling Technologies
3D printing is quickly gaining ground in the personal, professional, and education markets. According to Janne Kyttanen, founder of 3D manufacturing company Freedom of Creation, “two years ago, there were about 40,000 machines in the world. By the end of this year, that number is probably going to hit 100,000.” (Cnet.com)
However, the typical 3D printer is expensive to purchase and operate. Making models by hand for Geo Professionals (Architects, Civil Engineers, Planners, Developers, etc) is also an expensive and time-consuming operation. 2BOT and its new ModelMaker technology plans to eliminate these barriers of entry into the 3D printed model world.
Unlike other 3D printers that use additive or rapid prototyping technology, 2BOT’s ModelMaker uses subtractive technology. Material is removed from a solid billet, rather than continually adding material to build-up a model. The primary benefit the subtractive process offers is a fast, cost effective form of 3D modeling that can be used in a broad range of applications.
With an MSRP of around $12,000, ModelMaker is neither the least or most expensive alternative. But, the operating costs for it are significantly less than the competition. According to 2bot.com, a 2x4x10 in. model would cost about $4 when using 2BOT-approved base materials. ModelMaker is 25 in. x 25 in. x 13 in., and weighs 48 lb.
One of our customers, Ero Architects in Texas, received a return on their investment after their very first project with ModelMaker. They went into a bidding with massing models of the existing high school campus. Two proposals showed the board their options. Not only did they win the bid, but the client chose the higher end layout as a result of being able to see the new campus, play with the buildings and come to their own conclusion that the renovation would need more investment.
3D models are made by a specially designed motor-driven carbide-cutting bit controlled by a dedicated DPS processor and housed in an interchangeable spindle assembly. To allow for XYZ movement, the spindle assembly is attached to a sled and gantry arm, each using its own dedicated motors and processors, which accurately positions the spindle assembly for proper model cutting. The base material is loaded into a removable cassette, which can be rotated for two-sided cutting. All critical hardware and electronics are enclosed within an interlocking case, with the only regular maintenance reported as vacuuming or sweeping out the ModelMaker working area between jobs.
The machine uses 2BOT Studio 3D software. All of the modeling parameters, such as type of base material, step-over rate, model size, and model scaling can be adjusted or modified by the user. This software is compatible with all the programs that are considered the standard for virtual 3D modeling, including AutoCAD, SketchUp and Rhino, as well as many different file types, such as STL, KMZ, and DAE.
The cutting area of a single piece is 12 in. x 12 in. x 2 in., but the software allows for automatic tiling of virtual 3D models, so physical models of practically any size can be created. The ability to use both sides of the same cutting material for making a model allows for extended detail. Model quality is user selected, and can range from 0.005 in. to 0.065 in.
The specially designed spindle assembly moves quickly, at a maximum XYZ cutting speed of 1 ips. Basic models can be made in less than 30 minutes – 60 minutes for more detailed models.
2BOT physical Modeling Technologies