Setting the Pace for Customized Electric Cars – The First BigRep PRO in China

X-EV Electric Car Customization with Large 3D Printer

XEV is an innovative, forward-thinking company, with a mission to provide sustainable urban mobility to everyone for a better shared future.  And additive manufacturing plays an important role in development and production of their electric cars!

Traditional methods of producing cars typically involve large, complicated moulds and tools that are not only expensive, but also part specific.  By implementing additive manufacturing and the BigRep PRO into the production line, XEV has virtually eliminated the need for limited and resource intensive tooling, resulting in a flexible and efficient manufacturing process.  3D printing has allowed for fewer components, faster technical updates and significantly reduced production cycles.  It also dramatically reduces production costs meaning the savings can be passed on to our customers.

BigRep PRO in China 1

3D Printing Enables the Customisation Business Model

One of the key benefits of AM is customization.  And for XEV, it’s of the main benefits they provide to their customers. Thanks to the standardized fixing method between the customized parts and the car body, the 3D printed pieces will be able to be modified and changed with significantly less engineering work.

This is not very common in the automotive industry: shifting toward a more customer oriented manufacturing process. XEV is pushing the cutting edge innovation technologies and also places the individual user into the centre of the focus for an exceptional user experience.

“We are working very closely with some key customers to develop their own customized version of their cars,” said Jiawei Wu, Additive Manufacturing Director at XEV

There are two layers of customization that XEV is focusing on. The first layer is the design surface customization, which can represent  individual identity or the corporations value. The second layer of customization has more profound influence for the automotive industry, XEV will be willing to develop further our modular upper body in order to fit various needs.

3D Printed Parts for Electric Vehicles

“The PRO gives us better geometric precision thanks to its reliable machine design. Then it’s versatility provides us more opportunities to try different material and processes. With the PRO, it's much faster for us to develop more customization possibility and applications,” said by Jiawei Wu, Additive Manufacturing Director at XEV.

3D printing provides us a customer oriented process, and it gives us a lot of chance to trial different geometries. Also inside XEV’s smart manufacturing center, there is a very strong application team including professionals with good understanding of design and engineering. This team is the key intermedia connection between the customers and our smart manufacturing center.

The BigRep PRO for the Win

XEV arrived at the BigRep PRO after an extensive search for the right 3D printer that would help them fulfill their mission.  For XEV, size of the printer played a huge role as did the versatility of the system and it being an open material system.

XEV is currently using the PRO for three main applications.  First, for small volume test production as they are developing a lot of customized versions of Yoyo (their electric car) components.  Second, XEV does a lot of material testing on BigRep PRO, mainly fiber reinforcement materials.  And third, XEV does some traditional application like prototypes, fixtures, some production tooling.

Try out different things and different geometries. Thanks to the size and openness of the system, XEV is able to test out and try out a lot of different designs and geometries.  The BigRep PRO is the right tool for XEV to continue innovation for the future of customization in electric cars and provide a fast, customer-oriented experience.

ITERATE FAST. PRODUCE FASTER. GET TO MARKET FASTEST.

The BigRep PRO is a 1 m³ powerhouse 3D printer, built to take you from prototyping to production. It provides a highly scalable solution to manufacture end-use parts, factory tooling or more with high-performance, engineering-grade materials. Compared with other manufacturing and FFF printing solutions, the PRO can produce full-scale, accurate parts faster and at lower production costs.

Learn More

ITERATE FAST. PRODUCE FASTER. GET TO MARKET FASTEST.

The BigRep PRO is a 1 m³ powerhouse 3D printer, built to take you from prototyping to production. It provides a highly scalable solution to manufacture end-use parts, factory tooling or more with high-performance, engineering-grade materials. Compared with other manufacturing and FFF printing solutions, the PRO can produce full-scale, accurate parts faster and at lower production costs.

Learn More

Large-format 3D printing accelerates fire engine manufacturing

3D Printing Fire Engine Manufacturing

Magirus uses large-format 3D printing for prototyping  of fire engines

Behind every firefighting team that responds to emergencies and fires, there is a fire engine, and behind every fire engine, there is a team of engineers working hard to deliver the safest and best-performing vehicles and features. That is precisely where Magirus comes in. The Germany-based company was founded in 1864 by firefighter Conrad Dietrich Magirus with the aim of pioneering state-of-the-art firefighting vehicles and products. Today, over 150 years later, large-format 3D printing is helping the company to continue this mission and move fire safety & disaster control solutions into the future.

3D Printed Firetruck Parts at Magirus

Large-scale 3D printing heralds new era for fire engine prototyping

3D printing is not wholly new to Magirus. The company, which supplies a large range of fire fighting vehicles, turntable ladders, equipment and equipment wagons, special solutions, pumps and
portable pumps, has been using the technology since 2015 to enhance its prototyping and product development. Like most 3D printing adopters, Magirus initially worked in collaboration with external 3D printing service providers. In 2018, however, as the demand for large-scale prototypes increased, the company decided to invest in its own in-house 3D printer, the BigRep ONE.

Since then, 3D printing has become an integral part of Magirus' prototyping and product development workflows, especially for the production of aesthetic and ergonomic fire engine parts measuring more than 300 mm in length. Magirus' Chief Engineer in Prototyping Jens Krämer and his team frequently use the BigRep ONE to 3D print functional prototypes, which can be fitted and tested on trucks in order to validate the part design before moving ahead with tooling and production.

"Before 3D printing, prototyping was very expensive," Krämer states, explaining that his team used to rely on hand lamination and milling processes—both of which are time consuming and costly—to produce prototypes before moving ahead to final tooling.

With 3D printing added to the prototyping workflow, the Magirus team has not only dramatically reduced its prototyping costs (from nearly a hundred-thousand euros to just thousands of euros), it has also achieved much faster part development lead times. "It used to take from 3-6 months, depending on the size and capacity of the prototyping workshop, now it's a matter of the printing time on the machine, so just a couple of days," Krämer says.

The time and cost savings afforded to Magirus' prototyping department by 3D printing have also enabled more agile part development, which helps the company to meet the needs of its firefighter clients. In other words, large-scale 3D printing allows Magirus to rapidly manufacture and validate prototypes, which in turn enables it to update and improve its fire engines and firefighting solutions based on customer feedback.

Rapid response for production

While Magirus' main use for its in-house BigRep ONE 3D printer is prototyping, the fire engine manufacturer is also starting to explore the use of the technology for small-series production. In fact, the company's first 3D printed end-use part is now undergoing the final stages of validation for use aboard fire trucks.

The part in question is a window frame for a fire engine crew cab door. The crew cab is a fire truck designed to carry at least nine crew members. As one can imagine, it is important for the firefighters to have as much visibility as possible from the cabin as they approach the fire or emergency scene they have been called to. Magirus was thus asked by its firefighter customers if it could install an additional window into the frame of the crew cab door to improve visibility from inside.

In developing the window, the Magirus team used the BigRep ONE to 3D print a prototype of the frame—a structural element designed to connect the outer shell of the door to its inner side. The quality of the prototype window frame was ultimately so satisfactory that the team decided to forego tooling altogether and 3D print the end-use component. The production part, which measures roughly 800 x 600 x 150 mm, was 3D printed using a higher resolution than the initial prototype and was made from a high-temperature carbon fiber reinforced polymer, HI-TEMP CF.

"Because the volumes are low, we have started pre-series production for the [window frame]," says Harald Fitz, Chief Engineer of Firefighting Standard Vehicles at Magirus. "What we are also doing is testing and validation because the part has to be rigid and withstand the circumstances where firefighters are using their trucks… This is ongoing at the moment, but we are confident that the part will withstand all the testing we are applying." The 3D printed window frame is being tested for vibration, impact, and heat resistance, among other things.

By leveraging 3D printing for the crew cabin window frame, Magirus not only benefited from faster and more cost-effective prototyping, it has translated these benefits to end-use production. Most importantly, it has found a way to address and meet the requests of its customers, who rely on the company's products and systems to save lives.

3d-printer-production-fire-truck

BigRep ONE 3D printer

Vital to Magirus' successful use of 3D printing—both for prototyping and now end-use production—is the BigRep ONE 3D printer. Manufactured by Berlin-based BigRep, the BigRep ONE is a large-format industrial 3D printer that has an install base of over 400 systems globally.

The system is characterized by its massive build volume, totaling one cubic meter, and its compatibility with several polymer filaments, including PLA, TPU, PETG, and HI-TEMP CF, an engineering-grade biopolymer reinforced with carbon fiber. The BigRep ONE also integrates two BigRep Power Extruders with interchangeable nozzle sizes, facilitating multi-material printing or the use of water-soluble supports.

For Magirus, the size and industrial capability of the BigRep ONE were big draws. Not only is the machine suitable for manufacturing the large-scale prototypes the company requires for its fire trucks, but it also can be used to produce several smaller components—such as the window frame—in a single batch. The adjustable 3D printer settings, such as resolution, also allow the company to rapidly manufacture prototypes at a lower resolution and enhance the print quality for end-use parts.

"As you can imagine with the size of our vehicles, the parts [we needed] were getting bigger," says Krämer. "After a final evaluation, we decided to purchase the BigRep ONE. Firefighting vehicles are the ideal product of 3D printing due to the amount of vehicles produced and because high customization and individualization—and even digitalization—require quick and fast solutions."

"I'm quite confident that we could increase the quantity of parts being produced by the BigRep ONE 3D printer," Fitz adds. "Starting from prototyping, and now having the first part produced in a small series, I could really imagine that for special cases or for special parts we could move completely to 3D printing. The BigRep ONE 3D printer is really suitable for that."

In other words, this is just the beginning of production 3D printing for Magirus. 3D printing technology has the potential to open up increasing opportunities for custom and low-volume parts for fire engine manufacturing applications. Who knows, the next Magirus fire truck you see could be fitted with a 3D printed component!

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

3D Printed Life-Size Dinosaur Models

3D Printed Model Life-Size Dinosaur

Imagine walking into a museum and seeing a life sized dinosaur as tall as 15 feet (5 meters tall). The sheer size would impress you. The accuracy and attention to detail would wow you.

But did you ever think about how these life-sized dinosaur models were created? Well CDM:Studio are experts at this. They are a model making company based in Perth Western Australia that specializes in interpretive design and fabrication for museums, architects, designers and builders.

The Challenge

Western Australian Museum came to CDM: Studio for help with an exhibit that would feature life size dinosaurs and other animals. The challenge: create over 110 models in just 9 months. In the past, each dinosaur or animal would have had to been modeled out of clay, which takes a very long time and very skilled sculptures to . And with a timeline of only 9 months, it would not have been possible.

Life-Size 3D Printed Dinosaurs and More by CDM STUDIOS

Enter 3D Printing

In order to meet this short deadline, CDM: Studio needed to come up with a way to produce the models faster, with less dependency on humans, who can’t work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The BigRep ONE was the perfect solution to what they needed – large build size and able to work non-stop.

Now thanks to digital modeling using Zbrush, the files were then sent to the BigRep ONE for 3D Printing. The parts were optimized for 3D printing with internal mounting structures since many of the creatures would then be hanging in the museum.

“BigRep ONE is a workhouse and able to make all these models that we couldn’t have done any other way,” said Jason Kongchouy, Studio Manager at CDM: Studio.

Once the models were finished printing – due to the enormous size of the dinosaurs, the printed parts needed to be glued together to create a 1:1 life size scale of the dinosaurs. The average size of the parts were 3 feet (90 cm) long. Next they were post-processed and painted for an authentic, realistic finish.

3D Printed Model of a Life-Sized Dinosaur

Creating Accurate, Realistic Parts

One of the benefits of 3D printing is being able to produce exact replicas from a digital file. For Western Australian Museum, having accurate representations of the dinosaurs was extremely important. Every digital file was approved by scientists and museum staff. So the 3D prints came off the machine that came off the machine needed to match what was approved, and with the BigRep ONE CDM: Studio was able to do that.

“What came off the machine which is really, really important with our business. Where we are trying to get the scientist accuracy correct,” commented Kongchouv.

Future of 3D Printing for Model Makers

As customers expect you to meet shorter and shorter deadlines, 3D printing is becoming an essential tool to meet them. Having the ability to print non-stop and produce accurate models is a big competitive advantage for companies like CDM: Studios.

Kongchouv concluded with, “If you are not integrating 3D printing into your pipeline you are just going to fall behind. The BigRep has shifted our industry forever.”

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

Large Metal Casting Patterns Produced 33% Faster

Teignbridge Propellers International is a high-performance, marine engineering components company. Over 40 years old, Teignbridge produces its signature custom-designed and produced propellers, for tugs, luxury yachts, fishing trawlers and ferries.

Although the overall technique is well-established, companies in the industry must compete to preserve their reputation and further their position in the market. Teignbridge does this through delivering top-notch workmanship for a high-quality product, and by constantly innovating and investing in both an improved product and in more efficient production processes. This combination of unquestionable quality with an innovative streak has made the company a world-leading supplier of propellers and stern gear.

3D Printed Metal Casting Pattern Productzion Steps

“ WE PRODUCE HIGH-QUALITY ENGINEERED COMPONENTS. WE HAVE TO CONSTANTLY INNOVATE TO RETAIN OUR POSITION AS A LEADING FIRM IN OUR SECTOR.”

Large, Complex Metal Casting Patterns 3D Printed Fast on a BigRep ONE

In 2017, Teignbridge invested in a BigRep ONE large-scale industrial 3D printer for use in propeller production. The BigRep ONE workhorse 3D printer is used in the second stage of the process, to 3D print a full-size replica of the designed propeller to be the positive pattern for the cast mold.

Patterns are produced in 3 steps

  1. Engineers make a CAD model of the part, convert this to a G-code file, and load the file onto the BigRep ONE.
  2. The BigRep ONE 3D prints the pattern. The pattern-maker facilitates this by ensuring the machine has the correct BigRep 3D printer filament loaded.
  3. The pattern is then post-processed with the removal of the support structure, followed by the application of filler and a coat of mold release paint.

The process is straightforward. A typical pattern fits into a volume of 500 mm x 500 mm x 750 mm, meaning the BigRep ONE can comfortably print it in one go. Such patterns of around 4 kg take 40 hours to print, thus can be fully produced, including post-production, within just 48 hours. Short print times come in part from the BigRep ONE’s ability to print structurally sound patterns with hollow interior sections, which brings the added benefit of minimal material use.

large-metal-casting-molds-3d-printed

“IN PRODUCING OUR PROPELLER PATTERNS, CYCLE TIME IS NOW AROUND 33% LESS. TRADITIONALLY IT WOULD TAKE US OVER 3 DAYS TO PRODUCE A PATTERN. NOW IT TAKES LESS THAN 2 WORKING DAYS.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

3d-printing-metal-casting-patterns

“THE SIZE OF THE MACHINE WAS A CRITICAL FACTOR IN SELECTING BIGREP AS OUR 3D PRINTING PARTNER. THE FILAMENT MATERIAL IS CHEAPER, FASTER AND MORE PRACTICAL THAN MATERIALS FOUND ON ALTERNATIVES SUCH AS RESIN 3D PRINTERS.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

Three Key Benefits

Teignbridge’s early adoption of BigRep’s 3D printing technology brings three key benefits, which together add up to a transformed pattern-making process.

  1. REDUCED CYCLE TIME
    Teignbridge now achieves 33% shorter pattern production times. The 3D-printed approach takes just 48 hours, including post-processing. This compares to the three days Teignbridge used to spend producing patterns in wood or polystyrene with a milling machine. Some metal casting firms use traditional hand-production methods which take even longer.
    FASTER DELIVERY TO CUSTOMERS
  2. COST SAVINGS
    Major resource savings come from a 90% reduction in pattern maker labor required. The milling technique required 20 hours of skilled labor in CNC machine operation, section assembly, and post-processing. The 3D-printed method requires a maximum of two hours post-processing labor. The new approach also saves engineer time as one G-code file is required, rather than several.
    INCREASED COSTCOMPETITIVENESS
  3. REDUCED LABOR RELIANCE
    The reduced need for pattern maker labor insures Teignbridge against two kinds of risk. It brings reduced risk of being undercut by low-wage competitors. And, as skilled pattern-makers become scarce in traditional locations, it brings reduced risk of labor shortages which could make project completions impossible.
    INSURANCE AGAINST RISING WAGES & SKILLED LABOR SHORTAGES

It is worth highlighting three key features of the BigRep ONE which enable Teignbridge to get maximum benefit from its switch in production technique. The large format of the ONE delivers maximum time-savings by allowing pattern production in a single print; the low per-kilogram cost of BigRep’s PLA filament contributes significant cost savings; being able to print sound, hollow patterns allows further time and materials costs savings.

metal-casting-with-3d-printer-casting

“OUR TYPICAL PROPELLER PATTERN IS 500 X 500 X 750 mm. FOR THAT REASON, THE SIZE OF THE MACHINE WAS A CRITICAL FACTOR IN SELECTING BIGREP AS OUR 3D PRINTING PARTNER AS IT MEANS WE CAN PRODUCE PATTERNS WITH ONE QUICK AND SIMPLE PRINT.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

A STUDY OF EARLY ADOPTION IN INDUSTRY

Teignbridge has been proactive in introducing BigRep’s large-scale, fast, precise 3D printing technology to its industrial processes. It has done this because it can benefit from faster cycle times and lower costs in its metal
casting of large, complex performance components for its customers. A key factor in deciding which 3D printer to purchase was the large-format factor, as well as BigRep’s range of print materials.

Teignbridge’s proactivity reflects the company’s general approach to maintaining its competitive position, by seeking and embracing opportunities to invest in value-adding technologies. And it reflects its trust in BigRep’s printer technology to reliably provide the kind of precision and performance required by the industry. Given the ingenious heritage, vital function, and exacting standards of the marine industry, this is a strong vote of confidence in BigRep technology.

“ANOTHER PROBLEM THE BIGREP ONE SOLVED WAS THE LACK OF AVAILABLE SKILLED PATTERN MAKERS. THE 3D PRINTING SOLUTION ALSO PROTECTS US AGAINST OVERSEAS COMPETITION FROM LOW-COST ECONOMIES.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

Medical 3D Printing Reinvents the Wheelchair – and Orthosis

Medical 3D Printing: Smart Wheelchair

Medical 3D printing applications have dramatically improved accessibility to healthcare devices in recent years.

3D printing has made small, personalized prosthetics infinitely more affordable, accessible, and effective with on-demand personalized manufacturing. But larger medical devices - like wheelchairs and orthosis - have been limited by the small build volumes widely available.

Today, as large-format 3D printing has become increasingly accessible and reliable, the medical industry is making up for lost time. This past year has seen some incredible innovation in medical 3d printing made possible by large-format additive manufacturing with BigRep technology.

Two of BigRep's partners, Phoenix Instinct and 3Dit Medical, have proven especially noteworthy, having created inspiring innovations and earned the support they need to fully realize their life-changing designs.

Medical 3D Printing allows for a smart Wheelchair

Medial 3D Printing: Self Balancing WheelchairThe wheelchair has remained largely unchanged since the 1980s, said Andrew Slorance, CEO of Phoenix Instinct and a wheelchair user himself. “Wheelchair companies have been unable to stop thinking mechanical,” he says. “All the products around us are evolving – becoming smart. It doesn’t make any sense.”

With a vision to reinvent wheelchairs with smart technology, Slorance and Phoenix Instinct entered the Toyota Mobility Ultimate Challenge: a fund supporting the development of innovative mobility solutions worldwide. In the 18-month competition timeline, the company developed the Phoenix i: a revolutionary wheelchair with a smart center of gravity.

The Phoenix i is an ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber wheelchair with a unique smart weight distribution technology. The chair continually adjusts its center of gravity with user movements, making it easier to control in varied movement, terrain, and contexts while decreasing risks like backward falls. Other smart features like lightweight power assist and automatic breaking make inclines easier to traverse and eliminate most need for physical hand breaking.

The company’s BigRep large-format 3D printer made developing the chair in Toyota’s timeline possible, said Slorance. They reiterated constantly, printing full-scale frames to test on site – an accomplishment that simply wouldn’t be possible with traditional workflows. “My last carbon-fiber chair took about 4 years to develop,” he said. “We’re printing full sized wheelchair frames. It’s transformed the ability to develop a product.”

Now that the company has finished initial prototyping, they’re continuing to use their BigRep by 3D printing carbon fiber moulds used in manufacturing the chairs. There’s another 18 months of development to go, says Slorance, but with the million-dollar development fund the company won from the Toyota Mobility Ultimate Challenge and modern industrial resources like their BigRep industrial 3D printer, the future is bright for the Phoenix i.

3D Printing Orthosis: Personalised Scoliosis Braces

Medial 3D Printing - 3D Printing Prosthetics: Scoliosis BraceScoliosis affects approximately 3% of the world population, which means there are about 1 million scoliosis patients in Saudi Arabia, according to Dr. Ahmad Basalah, Vice President of 3Dit Corp.

Halting spinal degradation in scoliosis patients requires individually personalized body braces that are tremendously expensive and difficult to produce. But now 3Dit Medical – 3Dit Corp.’s medical arm – say they’ve found a new solution to not only build braces that halt spinal degradation but also show promising results in spinal correction.

With their BigRep ONE’s cubic-meter build volume, 3Dit Medical has already successfully 3D printed scoliosis body braces that show promising results in spinal correction. The braces are already 50% lighter than their traditional counterparts, cost a fraction, and are created in just three days instead of the previous three weeks. But thanks to the digital nature of additive manufacturing, they also allow for simple adjustments before printing that will apply pressure to precise points and help slowly correct a wearer’s spine.

“The practice of making a conventional scoliosis brace is humiliating,” says Dr. Wesam Alsabban, President of 3Dit Corp., as he described the process of measuring scoliosis patients which, before 3D printers, required them to hang naked from a ceiling while measurements are taken.

With 3Dit Medical’s new additive manufacturing process, patients only require a simple x-ray and 3D scan to gather measurements.

The groundbreaking application won third place in Saudi Arabia’s MIT Enterprise Forum. Excited by the potential, 3Dit Medical says they’ll continue developing the technology and think it will lead to even more valuable products in the future.

How could you change the world with an industrial 3D printer to streamline innovation and production?

ITERATE FAST. PRODUCE FASTER. GET TO MARKET FASTEST.

The BigRep PRO is a 1 m³ powerhouse 3D printer, built to take you from prototyping to production. It provides a highly scalable solution to manufacture end-use parts, factory tooling or more with high-performance, engineering-grade materials. Compared with other manufacturing and FFF printing solutions, the PRO can produce full-scale, accurate parts faster and at lower production costs.

Learn More

How Walter Automobiltechnik Streamlines Quality Assurance with 3D Printed Automotive Production Tools

Integrating 3D printing into the automotive industry’s product development and prototyping workflows is now a widely accepted strategy to reduce costs and lead times. Despite the acceptance, later stages of industrial production remain ripe for additive manufacturing innovation. One recent area of rapid growth is in 3D printed production tools for use in serial production.

3D Printed Production Tools Reduce Workflows

Walter Automobiltechnik (WAT), a Berlin-based automotive manufacturer specializing in the production of vehicle frames, is dramatically improving workflows in their facilities with custom 3D printed tools. The production tools, created with WAT’s BigRep ONE industrial 3D printer, are implemented into quality assurance workflows, reducing time spent on control lines with simple jigs to help semi-automate quality assurance checks. The control systems have cut workflows in half, freeing employee time and reducing order fulfillment time.

Automotive 3D Printing - Improving Factory Workflows with Custom-Fit Jigs and Fixtures

“The customer expectation regarding the quality is one thing, the customer expectation regarding the project time to deliver parts is getting shorter and shorter,” said Martin Münch, WAT’s head of engineering. “Here especially, 3D printing and the BigRep ONE helps us a lot to reduce the cycle costs of the project.”

Cutting Costs for Custom Jigs with 3D Printers

By 3D printing jigs for their new control systems, WAT has sidestepped the significant costs traditionally associated with custom industrial tools. Rather than commission a machine shop to manually shape the jigs from aluminum or other metals, WATs BigRep ONE is used in house to innovate their workflows on demand.

“Because I can print one cubic meter, I can produce really large components – which you can see with these jigs,” said André Lenz, an engineer at WAT and the technician responsible for designing and printing useful parts for WAT’s Berlin facility. “If we had made them out of steel or aluminum, for example, it would have been incredibly expensive and above all heavy and made from multiple parts.”

Automotive-Quality-Assurance-Production-Tools-WAT
Automotive-Manufacturing-tools-WAT

Like many companies that add a large-format 3D printer to their roster of industrial equipment, the value for WAT hasn’t ended with their primary application. Lenz has been designing and printing helpful aids around the facility for everything from trays to sheaths for holding tools within easy reach.

 

For WAT, the decision to invest in a BigRep ONE for automotive 3D printing has been game changing. They’ve cut costs and reduced workflow on essential manufacturing processes to help deliver their product at the cost and within the time their customers expect. But quality assurance is just the beginning as WAT continuing to develop more additive manufacturing applications to create more efficient automotive manufacturing processes.

3D Printed Car Parts for Solar-Electric Vehicles

3D Printed Solar Powered Car Prototype

3D printed car parts are helping engineers to rapidly prototype solar-powered cars, accelerating research into fossil fuel alternatives for consumer vehicles.

The explosively growing trend of electric vehicles (EVs) is clearing the way for new methods of fuel-creation – away from finite, expensive, and environmentally hazardous resources. Since electricity is still largely produced by fossil fuels and other major pollutants, energy production is bottlenecking the reduced carbon footprint of EVs.

Fortunately, ongoing research into cars with integrated solar power cells promises new horizons of environmental responsibility, energy independence and unfettered access to power and mobility across the world.

3D Printed Car Parts - Solar Car
A concept rendering of Futuro Solare's Archimede solar car as a consumer vehicle.

Spurred by global events like Australia’s international solar-car race, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, Researchers are already working towards vehicles with integrated solar panels.

BigRep and other corporate sponsors provide researchers with the means to construct and test vehicles with local solar power that participate in these races. The vehicles and their construction process, while sponsored and constructed for these publicized events, are used to advance research into solar vehicles and how we might work towards developing the technology for everyday consumers.

For some groups, BigRep’s large-format 3D printers have played a major role in advancing research. Lack of access to expensive traditional manufacturing technologies is a large barrier for the small teams working on solar vehicles. Fortunately, additive manufacturing easily fills in for the production of functional fixtures, prototypes and more 3D printed car parts.

3D Printed Car Parts: Heat-Resistant Battery Fixtures for Futuro Solare

At Futuro Solare, an Italian-Sicilian team of volunteer engineers and solar-vehicle enthusiasts, they’re dedicated to the mission of eliminating fossil fuels from everyday life. Like many other institutions, developing solar-powered vehicles is how they work towards their goal.

3D Printed Car Parts: Solar Race Car
Futuro Solare's Archimede 1 solar racecar.

When the group needed several end-use fixtures for their solar-car’s battery block they were stuck in a complicated acquisition dilemma. Since their racecar is entirely custom there isn’t a readily available solution on the market. Worse yet, since the prototype vehicle is always changing there’s a good chance the team will soon need another iteration of the fixture: taking expensive custom milled fixtures off the table entirely. The team needed a custom solution that was affordable, lightweight and, most importantly, able to resist any heat the battery block or other components might give off.

Futuro Solare approached NOWLAB, BigRep’s consultancy for engineered solutions, to 3D print suitable fixtures with a heat-resistant material that would meet their needs. BigRep’s HI-TEMP filament – an affordable bio-polymer able to withstand heat up to 115 ˚C – was the perfect solution. The part was printed and installed in their current solar-car and has since been quickly and easily updated to fit with their ever-evolving design.

3D Printed Car Parts: Battery Frame
3D-Druck von Batterieblockhalterungen für Archimede von Futuro Solare

Wind Tunnel Testing with Team Sonnenwagen

Team Sonnenwagen, a solar race team out of Germany’s Aachen University, was preparing for their second year participating in the World Solar Challenge. Having learned from their previous experience in 2017, they knew it was important to carefully check the aerodynamics of their solar-racecar before the race began. Unfortunately, the university’s wind tunnel was too small to test their full-sized vehicle. Team Sonnenwagen turned to BigRep for an additive manufacturing solution.

It was important for Team Sonnenwagen to understand how their vehicle will behave faced with the variety of forces present in a race. After all, they would be putting one of their own team in the driver’s seat to race at 140 km/h through the Australian outback. BigRep sponsored Team Sonnenwagen and, taking advantage of 3D PARTLAB, our 3D printing service bureau.

With our industrial 3D printers’ massive one-cubic-meter build volume, we created a perfect 1:2.5 scale model of the vehicle. Reasonably scaled down, the team could fit their design in Aachen University’s wind tunnel and undergo the tests to prepare them for their race. Because of the model they were able to validate the vehicle’s downforce lift, confirm its sail, and view a variety of other aerodynamic and force tests that helped the team compete and stay safe.

3D Printed Prototype for Wind Tunnel Tests
Das Team Sonnenwagen verwendet Rauch an seinem skalierten Solar-Rennwagen, um die Aerodynamik zu überprüfen

3D Printed Car Parts Bring Solar-Powered Cars Closer to Reality

Additive manufacturing plays an ever-increasing role in the development of bleeding-edge technology. Solar-powered vehicles are just one example of a technology that benefits from short rapid prototyping cycles, affordable scaled models, and on-demand engineering-quality solutions for spare parts and fixtures.

Because of the opportunities afforded by large-format additive manufacturing, like BigRep’s industrial 3D printers, innovative researchers like Futuro Solare and Team Sonnenwagen have resources never previously accessible at their scale. With them, accelerated research into integrated renewable power has been possible – inching the world closer to reliable solar-powered vehicles for new heights of environmental responsibility and energy independence around the world.

Learn more about Additive Manufacturing

GUIDE TO INTEGRATE LARGE-FORMAT ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

3D printing a large part all at once means less time is spent designing around multiple print jobs or assembling multiple parts, and more time getting those parts to work for you.

LARGE-FORMAT 3D PRINTERS FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

Learn how Kingston University, Helmut Schmidt University and more are using BigRep 3D printers for their classrooms and research.

BigRep’s COVID-19 Response

Covid-19 Face Shield

Faced with the challenges of COVID-19, we at BigRep believe the response should be nothing less than all hands on deck. Fortunately, additive manufacturing technology is uniquely capable of tackling the supply chain challenges the world is currently faced with.

Here you'll find an updated post about how we're working to support COVID-19 relief efforts, and any resources we can share that will help you contribute too.

If you're part of an organization responding to COVID-19 and could use BigRep's help, please reach out to [email protected] with requests.

For up to date information about the ongoing pandemic, visit the World Health Organization at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Protective Face Shields for Local Communities

BigRep is donating face shields to local organizations to provide protection from the novel coronavirus. In our recent post we shared the face shield's file (also found here below) and asked the additive manufacturing community to participate in their production and distribution.

We're asking our network of partners and customers to get involved and are offering a complementary 2.3kg spool of PLA in exchange for video footage of the face shields' production on BigRep 3D printers that we’ll use to continue our call for action, getting more and more people involved in this movement.

Without stacking, BigRep's large-format AM systems are able to print up to 24 of the masks at once and we're currently testing methods for optimal stacked production - so check back!

Connectors for Improvised Ventilators

Innovators around the world are devising creative ways to combat the shortage of ventilators and fill the gap between need and supply.

To help implement one solution, these BigRep 3D-printed connectors are off to the German Red Cross to help convert full-faced diving masks into improvised ventilators.

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That's all for now!

But we're working on more! Keep an eye on the BigRep blog and all our social media channels to hear how we're helping next.

BANYAN Eco Wall – The World’s First Fully 3D Printed, Irrigated Green Wall

BigRep is proud to present the BANYAN Eco Wall, the world’s first fully additively manufactured (AM) green wall with naturally integrated drainage and irrigation systems. The prototype features unprecedented innovations in design, functionality, technology and size, made possible with the BigRep ONE’s large-format additive printing process.

Designed at NOWLAB, BigRep’s innovation consultancy, by Mirek Claßen, Tobias Storz and Lindsay Lawson, the project features liquid channels that have been integrated into the manufacturing process. Similar vertical-farm structures have required channels to be manually embedded into the design in a complicated process after manufacturing with metal piping and a variety of other parts. The BANYAN, on the other hand, is 3D printed with internal channels included in the design. This allows for ultimate design freedom, as the eco wall’s structure doesn’t need to be planned around the available materials to create channels in post-production. These drainage systems are vital for the proper function of the integrated irrigation system, as excess water must be removed.

Irrigation systems, implemented to provide a controlled supply of water at requisite intervals, ensure the unique needs of plants and crops are met without the need for human intervention. Systems such as this inspire interior designers and architects developing a greener future – from home or workspace plant walls and green facades to vertical gardens and other forms of urban farming.

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Inspired by the multipurpose properties of plants’ root, steam and leave systems, the design of the BANYAN Eco Wall takes advantage of biomimicry design to create a structure that simultaneously functions as a support structure and water supply system. Its bionic design, measuring 2000 x 2000 x 600 mm, goes beyond aesthetics to be structurally optimized with plant carriers that easily and organically snap into place. The small internal channels are designed for optimal water flow and feature an integrated “micro shower” mechanism to irrigate plants precisely where needed.

“Our BANYAN Eco Wall is adopting nature’s principle with a complex, smart, and elegant design only achievable with AM. Traditional technologies such as milling or injection molding cannot deliver this level of complexity and dual functionality,” explains BigRep CEO Stephan Beyer, PhD. “For the first time, thanks to AM and advanced CAD software, it is now possible to create complex functional designs within a fully digitized process chain.”

BigRep CIO and NOWLAB Managing Director Daniel Büning adds, “Generative design software was crucial in the creation of the BANYAN Eco Wall to optimize the structure for printability and stability while allowing a rapid iterative design process. This prototype will push the boundaries of AM not only in irrigated plant systems, such as in vertical farming and green facades, but for any application requiring embedded functionalities.”



Find out what large-format 3D printing can do for you
in our free Guide to Integrate Large-Format!
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The BANYAN ECO WALL at a glance:
Dimensions: 2000 x 2000 x 600 mm, made up of 4 segments
Materials: BigRep Berliner Weisse Pur PETG for overall structure; BigRep Black PRO HT for planters
Team: Daniel Büning, BigRep CIO and NOWLAB Co-Founder
Lead Designers – Mirek Claßen, Tobias Storz, Lindsay Lawson

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We Lifted the BigRep ONE with a 3D Printed Carabiner

The BigRep ONE beeing lifted with a 3D Printed CArabiner

Michel David, Special Projects Manager at BigRep, had printed a few carabiners at home with his family on their small desktop 3D printer. They’re useful, he said, for hanging things, or for clipping a bicycle helmet to a backpack.

He then wanted to try and 3D print a super-sized carabiner and see if it is strong enough to lift very heavy objects. With the BigRep ONE having a 1m3 volume build, the challenge wasn’t going to be printing the large carabiner – rather, it would testing the strength of BigRep’s filaments!

“I started printing carabiners in large size, to see how strong they are,” said David. “We were testing holding heavy things with it, then Johann suggested we try lifting one of our own BigRep ONE printers.”

We Lifted Our Huge 500 kg 3D Printer With BigRep PLA

So, a plan was hatched. One of the older BigRep ONE machines, which BigRep was gifting to a university, would be the load borne by one of the carabiners. David and the team calculated that a certain thickness of BigRep PLA would be able to lift up to 1000 kg off the ground.

The team bought the 3D model design from ddf3d.com and they customized it for BigRep’s use. It was printed in eight hours, using 25% infill and a wall thickness of 6 mm.

BigRep connected with a prototyping space in Berlin-Kreuzberg called MotionLab, which had the room and giant crane necessary to complete the feat.

The aim was to lift it 15 cm or so, in safe conditions with padding beneath each corner of the printer, so as to cushion a possible, yet unlikely, fall. All BigRep and MotionLab staff involved were standing by, all kitted out with helmets.

Then, the grand finale. Drumroll, please…

Our 3D printed Carabiner

The BigRep PLA carabiner lifted the 332.9 kg machine, then the team added more weight to the printer to make it 507 kg and it held, comfortably. As David had predicted, the BigRep PLA stayed strong and did the BigRep team proud. We highly recommend watching the video of the lift for the full effect.

Thanks again to all those involved, especially to MotionLab for the use of their facility and equipment!

Check out our BigRep PLA Filament


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