Aug.18, 2013

3D printers will soon get an upgrade. Microfactory, launched by Mebotics LLC in Somerville, MA, isn't just a 3D printer. It is "a Machine Shop in A Box".

Microfactory is a networked desktop machine to combine additive and subtractive machining in one package. It is capable of: printing functional parts in four colors or multiple materials and computerized etching and computer-controlled milling. It contains printing and milling heads so you are not anymore limited to 3D printer compatible material. You can now print, cut and etch plastics, wood and some light metals.


  • mess-free milling for quiet indoor use
  • print and mill in the same machine
  • fully networkable complete on-board computer
  • print in 2 materials or four colors at once

You can load and send your own design to the machine, or download designs from internet via an on-board computer and internet connection. "If you had a database of parts for your Humvee you could connect the machine to a Wi-Fi hotspot, download the part you need from a directory and make it on the fly out in the middle of nowhere," says Jeremy Fryer-Biggs, one of four co-founders of Mebotics. The code embedded in each design tells the machine when to use the milling head and when to switch to print heads. And you can remotely start the machine then monitor the process.

In addition Microfactory features also a vacuum port to which you can hook up your vacuum cleaner to suck all the sawdust and metal bits away.

Machine Specs:

Basic Version

  • prints functional parts in four colors or multiple materials in 2 colors
  • 4-spool side rack for extrusion materials
  • 300W spindle for computerized etching and milling of plastics and wood
  • plywood frame, 25" wide x 29" deep x 25.5" tall
  • work volume 12inx12inx6in
  • sturdy enclosure tested to 350lbs, reduces noise output by ~10db
  • vacuum port for standard 2.5" shop vac + filtered air inlet with replaceable cartridge
  • safety features: fully enclosed moving parts; covered drive belts & motors; software-controlled large red Emergency Stop button
  • professional industrial motion-control package for high precision & machine reliability
  • swappable pallets for batch printing
  • internal dedicated networkable computer (no standalone computer required)
  • runs industry-standard gcode on a customized open-source system (cross-compatible with machine-shop mills)
  • Ports: 4x USB 2.0, VGA, Ethernet Power

Mebotics team will pre-sell a limited number of units through the crowd funding site Kickstarter hoping to raise $1 million through the platform. The Kickstarter campaign is expected to be launched in one or two months. Fryer-Biggs thinks other inventors will definitely be interested. "It's the machine I always wanted," he says.


Source: New Scientist

Posted in 3D Printers



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Andrew wrote at 8/19/2013 10:49:48 PM:

Guess i would buy one for the company i work at and one for at home right now if it were on the market. Definately keeping an eye on that box.

Ben wrote at 8/19/2013 8:10:31 PM:

Sounds awesome but the prints that they were making looked pretty low quality. Can someone just make a plasma cutter mod for a 3d printer please? :D

Adam wrote at 8/19/2013 7:51:14 AM:

this thing looks amazing. it has more features in a printer then I have ever seen

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