Meet Terabot

Since the release of Gigabot in 2013, we’ve continued to push the build envelope: first Gigabot XL, then the XLT. Now there’s a new machine to add to the portfolio, one that dwarfs its predecessors: Terabot.

Terabot is the latest addition to our fleet of large-format, industrial, fused filament fabrication printers.

Terabot was conceived out of a customer’s desire to go bigger than what we offered at the time – much bigger. As more and more customers asked about build volumes up to 1m cubed, we decided it might be time to make this solution a regular offering in the re:3D lineup.

With a build platform of 915x915x1000mm, Terabot boasts 8,372,250 cubic centimeters of volume – over 20 times more than its closest relative (the Gigabot XLT, which stands at 590x760x900mm).

The size jump was done with those customers who had outgrown Gigabot’s build volume in mind: the people who found themselves needing to break extra large prints into multiple sections and attach them post-printing. As Head of Engineering Matthew Fiedler puts it, “Face it, we don’t want to gluing or bonding together all of our small 3D prints. We really need a machine that can print the full piece at one time.” Terabot allows for the printing of massive parts without the need for any messy post-processing with glue or bondo.

As Terabot was modeled off the existing Gigabot platform, all the functionality our current customers already enjoy is built into this machine. With such a jump in size, however, our engineers made some critical design changes to allow it to run smoothly and reliably on massive prints.

The main new features on Terabot are as follows:

  • Linear guides on the X, Y, and Z axes
  • NEMA 23 X and Y stepper motors with closed loop control
  • Cast aluminum build plate with rigid nine point bed leveling

The reasons for these changes are several fold. The linear rails – compared with the v-groove wheels of the standard Gigabot – provide high rigidity, accurate and smooth motion on this extra large machine, coupled with a minimal need for maintenance. We sized up the NEMA 17 motors of the Gigabot 3+ to NEMA 23 on Terabot, to take advantage of their higher current and added power for the size of this build platform. They are also a closed loop system, meaning that the printer always knows the position of the print head. Lastly, the thick ½” blanchard ground cast aluminum build plate features a nine point bed leveling system for more precise leveling control on the increased surface area.

There are other slight changes to the machine to add to its performance, including new leveling casters and a beefier, 20-inch, 14 gauge solid steel electrical box which houses a higher 500 watt power supply as well as new closed-loop drivers for the motors. Situated above the electrical box on the rear of the machine are the main power disconnect, and the same Viki control panel as is used on Gigabot. There are also all the same features you may recognize from Gigabot, like dual extrusion and ditto printing, out-of-filament detection, and a heated bed. As with Gigabot, the aluminum frame of the machine is machined in-house to tolerances of less than .005 inches, and the ½ inch-thick aluminum bed plate is precision blanchard ground to within .003-.005 inches. All the moving cables of the machine are routed through the same cable carriers seen on Gigabot and are rated for over one million cycles of flexing. 

Every Terabot comes standard with a passively heated build chamber – equipped with removable, polycarbonate panels with magnetic closures and large access doors in the front – which can reach an internal temperature of 60ºC to enable the printing of high-temperature thermoplastics. The machine prints with the same 2.85mm filament as Gigabot, with an extrusion temperature up to 320ºC. Terabot is equipped with a high flow Mondo hot end with a 0.4mm nozzle, but also has the ability to print with 0.25mm and 0.8mm, all at a full speed of 60mm/s.

At $34,400, Terabot is an industrial machine that sits comfortably below the average industrial 3D printer price point. From our inception, we have strived for an intersection of cost and scale that opens the door to industries that have a need for the technology but maybe not the budget. Terabot enables huge printing at a cost that is affordable enough to add several machines to the factory floor. The Terabot community includes customers in manufacturing, art, aerospace, and design who have multiple Terabots in their production workflow, and we work to keep our prices at a level that enables just this.

We built this machine for the people like you whose eyes have been opened to the power of large-scale 3D printing and are ready for more. As we have done since 2013, we will continue to push the envelope so that you can continue to dream big and print huge.

You can purchase your Terabot on the re:3D store here, or email our sales team at sales@re3d.org to get more information.

A Look at the Largest Makerspace in Puerto Rico

Our interview with Luis has been translated from Spanish into English for the purpose of this article.

Roughly a 20 minute drive from the bustle of Old San Juan is an old civil defense base which houses the largest makerspace in Puerto Rico. Engine-4 has been there for nearly four years, operating as a mecca for hardware and IoT startups on the island. 

Cofounder Luis Torres has a background in hardware development and wanted to create a space in his own backyard to encourage these types of startups, which tend to have less places to go for support in Puerto Rico. “We created a space where university students, professors, and tech companies are all working together under the same roof developing their ideas flexibly and inexpensively so that they can become future startups in the community.”

The building houses a lineup of tools well-suited for hardware fanatics: soldering stations, printed circuit board milling machines, laser cutters, oscilloscopes, and an array of 3D printers.

“Spaces like this encourage community relationships, creation, and innovation,” Torres says. “They send a message that – with the few tools we’ve been able to acquire – we’re able to create ideas that are making it out of Puerto Rico.”

The Meeting in a Storm

Engine-4’s Gigabot story starts, as many stories in Puerto Rico do these days, with Maria. 

As the hurricane battered the island, nearby Parallel18 moved their Gigabot to Engine-4’s more secure facility for safekeeping. Torres quickly sized up the machine, and the wheels began turning. “I saw the capacity of the printer and realized that, without a printer like Gigabot, there are a lot of prototypes we wouldn’t be able to make.”

As the resident companies at Engine-4 include a fair number of IoT developers, 3D printed housing for components is a common need. But they also house other companies with larger requirements, Torres says, like architectural firms working in urban development and startups building custom drones. These sorts of prototypes often dwarf the average desktop printer. He explains, “A printer like [Gigabot] gives us the capacity to print really large things that other, smaller printers just can’t.”

Hardware development necessitates quick, agile development. As one local startup put it, “Prototyping is a daily activity.” Third party contract machining often means hefty price tags and long turnaround times, which simply aren’t an option for these companies as they move quickly from iteration to iteration. This is where the in-house fabrication equipment of a makerspace can play such a crucial role. 

Torres understands that there aren’t many machines out there that rival 3D printing in the world of rapid prototyping. “This is a part of our growth, and I understand that it’s an essential tool for the team,” he says. “To create prototypes, there really isn’t another device that you can use that’s not a 3D printer, and Gigabot’s capacity is more than any other machine.”

He’s been very satisfied with their decision to invest in such a large printer. “[The goal] was achieved since the first day we opened it,” he said.

Favorite Projects

A common thread for many Puerto Rican entrepreneurs is the influence that Hurricane Maria has had on their business ventures, often spurring the creation of a company aimed at solving a problem laid bare by the storm.

True to form, some of Torres’s favorite projects that have come out of Engine-4 happen to be those associated with disaster response.

One such example is WATRIC Energy Resources, a company featured in a recent Gigabot story, who used the Engine-4 Gigabot to prototype a product which condenses drinkable water from moisture in the air. Their goal is to create units for homes and public spaces to reduce the reliance on the water grid in the event of another catastrophic disruption to the system similar to the aftermath of Maria.

Another favorite of Torres’s is a project involving mini weather stations in which Gigabot was used to 3D print the housing for a bundle of internal electronics. This was a part of Engine-4’s work on IBM’s Call for Code challenge, a competition to develop hardware prototypes for natural disaster aid. The units have been installed in different locations along the coast of Puerto Rico as well as atop Engine-4’s roof.

The Engine-4 Gigabot has also been put to work 3D printing custom components for drones to be used in a disaster-response format. In one example, drones carry and drop custom units from the air via remote control, transmitting an SOS signal to emergency responders. The idea is to use the drones to summon for aid in areas that may be impassable due to storm damage. 

 

Youth Program

One topic that Torres is particularly passionate about is his mentorship of the local youth.

In 2019 he started a free program called IoTeen ECO Bootcamp wherein he works with students from age 10-17 on tech skills, using cases involving sustainability and the environment. Over the course of the program, the group works with electronics like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, learns how to program in Python, and gets experience using 3D printers on projects like solar panels and smart farming. The whole program culminates in a hackathon.

“They don’t teach this in the schools here,” explains Torres.

He gives his students all the equipment they need to learn real-world technology skills and create functional products, guiding them along a path that may hopefully spark an idea of what they want to study in university. “They don’t have to wait until they’re in their final year of school to decide what it is they’re going to do,” he says.

The Importance of Community and Unity

When we spoke in late 2019, Torres had clear visions of growth for the future. His youth tech program was slated to double in size in 2020, Engine-4 was in the process of expanding into a new wing of the building, and he hoped to get more Gigabots for the space.

And then, as it has for countless others around the globe, COVID-19 entered the picture and made everything a little murkier. In many ways the island is still reeling from Hurricane Maria, and its healthcare system is in a vulnerable position due to persistent underfunding.

But in another sense, the crisis brought Engine-4’s sense of purpose as a hub for creation and innovation into sharp focus.

Torres and his team jumped immediately into action, putting their tools to use creating PPE for healthcare workers across the island. They began printing components to assemble face shields, and were able to fit up to 12 face shield prints on their Gigabot bed at one time. In the first wave of the pandemic in the spring, they were using nine printers to crank out 475 face shields a day. They have since donated 14,000.

The words that he ended our November conversation with now seem to take on new meaning. 

“For the community, we need more unity between us. We need to take off our protagonist hats and focus ourselves on the same North Star, so that those who come after us can replicate [these spaces] and the community can grow like it’s grown in other parts of the world. This is my advice and my words for the community.”

re:3D Inc. Awarded FAVE Innovative Company by Austin Young Chamber

Austin Young Chamber Announces Annual FAVE Award Winners

We couldn’t be more stoked and honored to share the virtual stage with so many companies we adore as the 2020 FAVE Innovative Company Award from the Austin Young Chamber!

Below is a repost of the event highlights– if haven’t already, we encourage you to check out the amazing local businesses that were featured this year!!

AUSTIN, Texas, October 30, 2020 — The Austin Young Chamber celebrated a virtual version of the 11th Annual FAVE (Favorite Austin Venture or Enterprise) Awards last night where forty businesses representing ten different categories were honored and recognized.

“Over the last few months, Austin area businesses have faced many challenges.” said Alyssia Palacios-Woods, President and CEO of the Austin Young Chamber. “What they have been able to accomplish despite these challenges is truly remarkable. We are honored to be able to recognize all finalists and winners and celebrate their resiliency, adaptability, and innovation this year.”

The evening began with keynote Kathy Terry from P. Terry’s sharing her thoughts on success and the importance of community, and was followed with representatives from Ascension Seton, Civilitude, and University Federal Credit Union announcing the awards.

Congratulations to the winners:

  • ZACH Theatre | FAVE Arts & Culture Experience
  • NI | FAVE Community Minded Company
  • Civilitude | FAVE Company Culture
  • re:3D Inc | FAVE Innovative Company
  • H-E-B | FAVE Legendary Austin Brand
  • Latinitas | FAVE Local Non-Profit
  • Austin PBS, KLRU-TV | FAVE Local Source for Info
  • Antonelli’s Cheese Shop | FAVE Small Business
  • Ascension Seton | FAVE Way to Keep Austin Healthy
  • Recalibrate | FAVE YP-Led Business

To see the full list of the finalists and descriptions, please visit the event page HERE.

To see the FAVE Finalist videos, please visit the Austin Young Chamber YouTube Channel HERE.

To schedule a media interview, please contact Alyssia Palacios-Woods, AYC President and CEO, at (512) 810-8005 or alyssia@austinyoungchamber.org.

About the Austin Young Chamber

Millennials are the Largest Generation in the U.S. Labor Workforce. The Austin Young Chamber focuses on equipping our members with the skills, experiences and connections they need to be successful leaders and influencers in Central Texas, both today and in the future. Members of the Austin Young Chamber are generally between the ages of 21 and 40. We welcome Corporate members who employ a young professional workforce as well as individual young professionals looking to grow professionally.