School departments are not usually limited to one application; they have a need for equipment which can meet a number of different requirements, for a number of different projects or areas of activity. Most 3D printers are limited in this area.
3D printing is not about the machine, it is about the material. Purchase a sub £5,000 3D printer, and no matter what the brand, it will in all likelihood print a number of different polymers, such as ABS, PLA, nylon and PET. There are more materials being developed all the time, but they are all polymer-based. If you want your 3D printer to offer more, the choice is very limited indeed.
There is now a machine available from IT IS 3D which can do more. The Focus has a number of unique features, but let us start with its ability to print more than just plastics. It has two interchangeable heads. One of those heads is an FDM print head – it prints as wide a range of polymers as other lower cost 3D printers, as well as many and better than most.
Its unusual feature is its second head which is a paste head. Instead of melting polymers, this head boasts a syringe holder which allows any paste to be 3D printed. What paste can be 3D printed? In effect, any material which comes in paste form or which can be turned into paste, such that it can be forced through a nozzle, and will hold its shape after printing.
The key material in this context is food. Most foodstuffs can be turned into paste, and many have been experimented on. Some obvious examples are butter cream, and chocolate (or chocolate Ganache) for printing on cakes, and for making chocolatey shapes – I am getting hungry just writing this! In fact, as well as printers, at IT IS 3D we also provide materials, including special chocolate granules from the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world, Barry Callebaut.
At Food Ink, a pop up 3D restaurant which opened for three days in the East End of London this July, starred chefs produced gourmet meals from a wide variety of foodstuffs using our Focus 3D printer; punters paid £250 each for the benefit. Some of the tastes were specially designed and mixed for 3D printing, allowing them to experiment with new experiences.
There are other pastes which can be 3D printed. One that has been tested on the Focus is ceramic material, producing 3D ceramic and pottery shapes. As with all 3D printing, the technology allows (indeed encourages) the user to experiment with materials and shapes.
A recent sale has been to the medical department of a leading UK university, where they wish to experiment with a wide range of materials, including biological ones for work on 3D printing human organs.
Some of the unusual benefits of the Focus 3D printer include:
- Interchangeable heads which are recognised by the printer, which immediately sets up the firmware for the appropriate head
- The heads are locked in place magnetically, with no setting required
- Thanks to a fixed base, there is no bed-levelling or calibration – an issue with many 3D printers
- The material used and the way it is designed means that it can safely be used for food, and is easy to clean
- It is unique in that it folds up as a suitcase – it is supremely portable and also has a tiny footprint, without compromising on print area
- If aesthetics are your thing, it is also one of the best looking 3D printers on the market at any price
- It is not just available at below £5,000, it is way below £5,000. In fact, at around half.If you want to own and use the most flexible and capable low cost printer available, then contact IT IS 3D about the new Focus.