Big Cool 3D Printer

We were lucky enough to get to tour a cool shop down the street yesterday that does BIG 3D printing for making bronze statues (for public parks and such). We did a trade where we toured their building, and they toured our building (which has a lot of people working on different projects).

I couldn’t photograph any of the things they were making for copyright reasons, but I did get a video of one of their printers in action. The work area is 500cm x 1000cm x 500cm and a run costs $700 and takes three days, but they said it’s still much cheaper than working in clay directly. They still put clay on the out side of the prints to doctor them a little bit before going to casting to let them do last minute touch ups or textures sometimes.

The printer prints in PMMA (acrylic) powder. It works by laying down a 3 micron layer of powder, then using a nozzle similar to a ink jet printer to spray a binder which bonds the powder. It takes scans back and forth in multiple passes to cover the whole print area (like an inkjet printer), then lowers the print area and adds another layer of powder.

Not strictly maslow related, but I thought it was cool to get to see one of the big ones up close.


There are probably technical reasons why not, but if those reasons could be side stepped, is there anything stopping the Maslow from being fitted with an extruder (oriented downwards of course, on an extended arm) and with some code, sled and frame modification, becoming potentially a 2ft x 4ft or even 4ft x 8f 3d printer? The frame would still stay vertical with a large hole cut through it to allow the extruder travel through and the z axis would have to cover more depth, while the y axis would determine the height of the extruder. If this does not sound too much like hogwash already, I could knock out a quick model to demonstrate what I mean.

I saw this thread too while checking to see if any conversation had gone on before along those lines, and I’m further inspired by the video @Bee shared there.

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I have a back ground in 3D printing and building printers. I’m working a a few at the moment. In theory you could do this ( add an extruder to the Maslow ) and it will work. Gravity will work against you in the hanging design. FDM can operate at any angle in theory. The real question to get started is what do you want to extrude? A standard 3D printer uses a .4 mm nozzle.

That is a 6096:1 ratio across a 8ft span. FDM is subject to frequent material jams. I have thought in it’s current Z heights you could do some pretty nice topographical maps. I do see potential. I’m considering building a 2nd Maslow to be a plotter/printer.

Thank you

take a look at the hangprinter, it’s what you are looking for and far more
suited to the job. The maslow moves FAR too slowfor 3d printing.

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What they said.

3D printing usually requires a suspended extruder so you don’t hit the printed object. You might be able to print with a thick self supporting fluid like concrete, but then you’ll have chain angle problems.

Within it’s speed limitations and at the $500US +/- price point you can’t beat a Maslow for routing sheet materials, but for extrusion based 3D printing it’s a non-starter. Perhaps you could figure out something for SLS, but you’d need the lifespan of a Sequoia to take advantage of it

Hmmm…that idea seems dead on arrival then. But glad @dlang got to mention the hangprinter, I’ve spent some time looking into it and it’s quite a revelation!

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I’m in the middle of a HangPrinter build. It’s a very neat concept. I’m working on add-ons for both the Maslow and the Hang Printer.

Where are you located.

Thank you

@Bee. Good to know you’re currently building the Hangprinter. I hope to build one as well, hopefully by the end of the next quarter, so it’s nice to have someone here to learn from. I’m located in Lagos, Nigeria, so unfortunately not a whole lot of people out here tinkering with this kind of stuff just yet.


A hangprinter looks like a good base for a concrete printing device, perhaps with a foam making device so it could use aircrete. That would be a big cool 3D printer fersure.

Aircrete is concrete mixed with air, and is being tested for inexpensive housing. There’s a variant you can make with dish washing detergent and in small quantities in a drywall bucket and then make into building blocks. Skipping the blocks and printing a building would be extra cool. Aircrete’s on my to-do list, would have insulated the mooseshop floor with it if these projects would just happen the right seasons.

@DADA_universe, my son-in-law and youngest daughter are both working with healthcare in Africa. I think Carrie recently passed through the Lagos airport, although it’s hard to keep track of where she’s been lately. You’re a little warmer than here, -25C a few nights ago.

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I looked into aircrete a while back and was intrigued. It does seem to be more brittle than concrete though (at least the version done with dish washing detergent is), so it might need more innovation to improve it’s structural integrity for building construction, especially if being printed (a great idea, by the way, one of the reasons why I’m so taken by the hangprinter…a $500 printer that can print large scale objects! :astonished:).

I can’t complain about the temperature in Lagos. This time last year, I was in London, it was maybe +5C but enough to make me miserable. I’ll be quite literally beside myself at -25C.

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