Co.Design

3-D Printing: Now Available in XL

Shapeways introduces a new selective laser sintering machine that manufactures objects THIS BIG.

3-D printers have revolutionized small-scale independent product design. Now, Shapeways wants to super-size it.

The Dutch rapid-prototyping juggernaut recently acquired a shiny new selective laser sintering machine capable of popping out stuff that's more than twice the size of what you could make before. The printer, which works by building 3-D objects layer by layer, manufactures pieces that are up to 28 inches wide by 23 inches tall and 15 inches deep -- about as big as a fish tank.

That's a huge deal for Shapeways's designers. Used to be, if you wanted to SLS something much larger than a shoebox, you had to print it out in pieces then somehow paste 'em all together. Now, you can create objects, whether a lamp or the world's biggest 3-D printed Rubik's Cube, that are totally seamless. It's also perfect for architects, who can rapid-prototype complete 3-D models quickly and easily (instead of forcing the poor intern to do everything by hand).

One drawback: You lose some of the resolution you get with more compact machines. But it involves a fraction of a millimeter and it won't matter much, unless you're printing something like this.

[Via Shapeways]

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Duann

    Thanks for the article Suzanne,
    Shapeways is already starting to see some really interesting XL 3D prints come through the production facility, although Chris Hardy's 'Re-loved' Cesca Chair pictured in the article came before we supersized our machine so he had to glue together parts, like an intern.. :)