Jan 29, 2016 | By Kira

In October 2015, French 3D printing company Qualup SAS, manufacturer of the SpiderBot line of delta 3D printers, signed an agreement with global office and school supply company Maped to design and create a next-generation, professional-grade 3D printer that would feature a heated print bed and be capable of 3D printing ABS thermoplastic filaments.

After a few months of successful development alongside Maped’s R&D team, Qualup’s upgraded 3D printer is complete and on track to be mass-produced and marketed as early as mid-2016. 3Ders.org spoke with Qualup co-founder Philippe Boichut to get the specs and story behind this new, as-of-yet unnamed, professional Delta 3D printer.

Though the new 3D printer retains a similar structure to the SpiderBot’s existing stainless steel and aluminium structure, the most significant modification is the 3D printer’s ability to reach temperatures up to 90°C, and thus continuously extrude ABS filaments rather than just PLA. Though both are commonly used 3D printing thermoplastics, ABS’ strength, flexibility, machinability and higher temperature resistance have made it a much-preferred material for mechanical and industrial engineers, including those at Maped.

In order to achieve this ABS 3D printing capability, Qualup had to completely redesign several key features from the original SpiderBot 3D printer. “The main difference is that the heated chamber can reach 90°C, whereas the original SpiderBot could only get to 55/60°C,” explained Boichut. “Those 35 degrees make a huge difference, as it frees the 3D printer of mechanical stressed that could cause warping or cracking of the 3D printed pieces—a well-known phenomena for those who print in ABS.” The upgraded Qualup 3D printer also offers a 3D printing diameter of 250 x 200mm within the heated chamber, compared to the 180 x 200mm volume of the previous model.

The 35° temperature difference, however, also required top-to-bottom redesigns of several of the 3D printer’s other key features. These include an dual extrusion 3D print head with forced air cooling; specially-designed heat-resistant Neodymium magnets (developed in collaboration with Maped); a double-walled heated chamber; as well as a mechanical rotary actuator. “The servomotor used in the SpiderBot DualHead stops working after 75°C, so we had to find a simple mechanical solution that could work at higher temperatures,” said Boichut. “Everything in the new system is mechanical and made with heat-resistant components, so there is no risk of overheating.”


Though Qualup’s new industrial 3D printer was designed specifically for Maped, and the company was thus initially unsure if they would open it up to the wider 3D printing market, Qualup has since decided to mass produce it and commercialize the 3D printer for professional customers after receiving multiple requests from various companies.

“Our clients are demanding industrial manufacturers who want to work with proven materials to create functional 3D prints,” said Boichut. “The R&D team at Maped in particular is familiar with all aspects of 3D printing, as they have been using industrial 3D printers for years.”

Though the price hasn’t been officially set as of yet, Qualup expects that it will cost roughly three times as much as the SpiderBot v2.2 Pro Kit (the V2.2 Pro full kit retails for €2364 on their website). They also haven’t chosen an official name, however Boichut has his team have internally been referring to it as the ABSolute. The company will also be presenting the 3D printing machine at RapidPro 2016, taking place in the Netherlands between March 1-3.

The detailed specs of the upcoming Qualup professional ABS 3D printer are available below and in full on the SpiderBot blog:

  • Stainless Steel and Aluminium Structure
  • Build Volume:  250mm diameter x 200mm height.
  • Resolution: Z = 1.4μm, 4.7μm ~ XY.
  • Printing material : ABS, HIPS (PLA and other printables material possible)
  • Filament dia: 1.75mm
  • Travel speed > 300mm / sec.
  • Tilting Dual Head with mechanical operation
  • Cooled filament feed tube
  • Dual Extrusion head
  • Simplified  maintenance : Interchangeable print heads in less than 10 minutes
  • 2 Dual-Drive Extruders with all-metal gears and guides
  • Heated and regulated Printing Chamber (adjustable between 30 and 90°C).

 

 

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