May 30, 2016 | By Benedict

The Aachen Center for 3D Printing has transformed an old Berlin city bus into the “FabBus”, a mobile 3D printing classroom containing 8 workstations and 12 3D printers. The Center drives the FabBus to both schools and businesses, allowing students and employees get hands-on 3D printing experience.

It’s no secret that 3D printers are getting faster, but have you ever been overtaken by one on the autobahn? Strangely, that’s a very real possibility for those living in and around Aachen, Germany, where the Aachen Center for 3D Printing has built the FabBus, a touring additive manufacturing roadshow equipped with 8 training stations and 12 3D printers. No, the 3D printing equipment doesn’t make the double-decker bus go any faster—the vehicle has a top speed of 70km/h—but it does enable SMEs and schools to try out a range of 3D printers in their own carparks, giving employees a chance to see whether additive manufacturing might improve their business and allowing students to learn about this growing area of the technological landscape.

The FabBus concept sounds unusual, but perhaps the tech wizards behind its steering wheel are onto something. After all, how many small businesses have the time or resources to really “practice” 3D printing before making an investment in the technology? How many schools and universities can afford to invest in a whole suite of 3D printers? The Aachen Center for 3D printing, a joint venture between Aachen University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, rents the mobile classroom out to interested parties, and even offers three-part programs (theory, design, printing) through which participants can train to be an “Additive Manufacturing Designer” or “Additive Manufacturing Specialist”.

The bus itself was once a Berlin city bus, and had clocked up over 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) before it was purchased by the Aachen Center for 3D printing. Staff at the Center completely gutted the vehicle, gave it some mechanical upgrades, then started installing the additive manufacturing equipment. The lower level now boasts a bar, lounge, library of reference books about CAD and 3D printing, and Stratasys Objet 24 3D printer, while the upper level contains 8 CAD workstations, each equipped with a Makerbot 5 or 5 Mini 3D printer and Autodesk Inventor and Fusion software. There is also a presentation area on the upper level.

The organization will this year park its double-decker 3D printing bus at Rapid.Tech 2016, an additive manufacturing trade show in Erfurt, Germany—the bus was first seen in public at last year’s edition of the event, where almost 4,000 attendees from 15 countries had a chance to climb aboard the mobile additive manufacturing classroom. At this year’s event, which takes place June 14-16, the bus can be found at the edge of Hall 2 by FabCon 3.D Forum. In addition to its printing-on-wheels service, the Aachen Center for 3D Printing is also planning to develop a metal-printing 3D printer for under 10,000 euros.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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F wrote at 5/31/2016 10:22:32 AM:

the name could be very easily misinterpreted

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