Oct 27, 2016 | By Andre

There are times, while doing my due diligence in researching a topic for 3ders, that I let out a curious “hmmm” rather suddenly. This little bump of unplanned exhale ultimately can be translated to “well then, why didn’t I think of that” or “that certainly is a good approach to an old problem” or something along those lines.

So when I was reading up on SpiderBot’s delta inspired filament based 3D printer and let that contemplative half moan out I knew I was, at the very least, diving head first into a new approach to an old way of 3D print thinking.

Their newly announced and cleverly named ABSolute 2 3D printer is typical FDM at first glance but some of the features quickly extend beyond the typical upon closer inspection. As the name suggests, it is primed for ABS 3D printing (something many of the PLA focused systems have veered away from in recent years) in that it comes equipped with a 90°C heated chamber that “ensures perfect prints in ABS.”

This makes sense considering a drawback to the material in other 3D printers has always been cracking / delamination of large objects. Large scale FDM companies like Stratasys have been using heated chambers to resolves this for some time while open-source companies have been held back due to Stratasys patents surrounding the concept. It now appears SpiderBot has been able to find a way to heat their chamber enough to avoid any and all cracking with their ABSolute 2.

But they’ve gone even further still. Their modular design based on what they call reverse Delta technology (where the print surface itself is driven by delta principles but the extruder remains motionless) means separate thermal conditions from where the extruder hangs vs. where the print itself grows vs. where the electronics themselves rest. This means cool where cool is needed and hot where hot is needed without compromise.

Using high-end components such as stainless steel vertical rails, a polyetherimide print bed, double polycarbonate glazing on its enclosure, and magnetic ball joints on its extruder all contribute to what they argue guarantees exceptionally precise positioning of the printing bed, which in turn allows for high speed 3D printing.

On top of this, since it is a dual-head 3D printer, the second head rotates out of the way when not in use to avoid dripping unnecessary contrasting filament ooze onto the 3D printed item being produced. I’m not going to say genius without seeing the quality of the 3D prints (and unfortunately there isn’t much as things stand) but some of the features of this 11,000€ to 14,000€ 3D printer are undoubtedly impressive (on paper at the very least).

I mean, sure the on-board video camera, auto calibration, easy swap nozzles, built-in wifi, heated bed and open-source core are a nice touch, but it’s the aforementioned features as well as a liquid cooled 500°C (!) nozzle option might just set this 3D printer apart from other in-class units.

Luckily, even though there are very few print examples available to showcase the results of the ABSolute 2’s capabilities, there is relief in knowing Spiderbot has been producing Delta 3D printers for a few years now. Additionally, they have very recently publicly launches their machine at the 3D print Exhibition in Lyon France with supposedly nothing but positive reviews of their technology.

It’s almost as if for years people said heated chambers and hotter extruders allow for better results so all Spiderbot did was take notice, do some research, and turn the temperature up as high as possible to get the ABS plastic printing results they were after.

In closing, all of their minor innovations mean more material options, potentially cleaner 3D printing and crack-free ABS end results. Of course, the price tag puts the machine well out of reach for most hobbyists so it instantly become a niche product for a very specific market.

Also, the focus on a single target material does make me wonder if the company is putting too many eggs in the ABS basket (yes, other materials should work just fine). But there is no doubting that the tech specs are impressive and ultimately comprehensive to what one could ever dream of in a FDM based 3D printer.

So coming around full circle as I cycle through the capabilities of the ABSolute 2 I can’t help but once against let out a little bit of contemplative “hmmm” in anticipation for when it finally releases in early 2017.



Posted in 3D Printer



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Joe P. wrote at 11/1/2016 3:35:47 PM:

@ Rick: I think they're just trying to be different. You're right, they would lose much of the benefit of a delta configuration as the part grew.

Rick T wrote at 10/27/2016 4:11:01 PM:

While it is interesting that they went with the inverted delta idea, it sort of kills the best part of being a delta. The inertia growth of the part being built will have an effect on the quality, speed, or both.

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