Save 70% of tooling costs in metal casting

Making patterns for metal casting used to be a labor intensive and long process. But with a large 3D printer, you can do this at the push of a button. This way, Metso Outotec saves up to 70% costs.

The Old and the New

When one speaks about foundries, most people will think of glowing furnaces and smoke-filled, sooty workshops. And even if this image is still valid, metal casting consists of many more and complex steps besides the final casting process. In order to optimize and simplify these processes and to cut costs at the same time companies like Metso Outotec are starting to implement 3D printing.

Metso Outotec is a global supplier of equipment and solutions for mineral processing and metal refining industries. Parts for the product portfolio are cast in five foundries that belong to the company. In two plants, 3D printers by BigRep are used mainly to produce casting molds and core boxes. The foundry in the Czech Republic purchased a BigRep ONE a few years ago, and in Brazil a BigRep PRO has been operating since February 2021. At the Brazil location, Patricia Moraes, who has been with the company since 2004, is in charge of implementing and optimizing their 3D printing process.


3D Printing Replaces CNC Milling and Makes Everything Easier

Before their BigRep 3D printers were installed, the molds and other parts were made purely of wood. The blanks were assembled from single wooden blocks and the desired shape was created by a CNC milling process. Not only did this require sourcing, storage, and handling of large and heavy pieces of wood, but the machines had to be programmed by specifically trained and skilled personnel. This process also requires a lot of time, as the blanks are mostly glued together and cannot be processed before the glue has cured. Patricia Moraes said, “It all takes so long, because we have to wait until the glue has dried.”

As their manufacturing process transitioned, many parts, like core boxes in various sizes, loose parts, and tools for the core shooting machines are now 3D printed on BigRep’s 3D printers. Metso Outotec prints specifically designed add-on parts that can be attached to simple base bodies, allowing for increased flexibility when it comes to creating a large variety of casting molds. At this stage, the interaction of CNC machining and 3D printing plays an important role. Large base bodies are still milled and are then complemented by 3D printed loose parts, while smaller parts are mostly printed completely.


Faster, lighter, more flexible

According to Patricia Moraes, one of the most important advantages of the new method - the much faster production process - is quite obvious: “You can say, the printer works in three shifts. I start the print today, and I have the part tomorrow.” Not only does this speed up production, it also allows for much shorter iteration cycles. Alterations to the casting molds and core boxes can be done on short notice, and desired changes can be implemented much more easily.


Another key benefit of using additive manufacturing is the parts are lighter and much easier to handle. Purchase and storage of the raw material is drastically simplified, as it is no longer necessary to buy large quantities of wood. Metso Outotec also makes use of the possibility to operate with different materials on the same printer. Surfaces that are subjected to higher stresses during operation are printed with material showing a better resistance against wear, for example, BigRep Pro-HT, while structures below are made of cost-saving PLA. By using the settings and adjustments provided by BigRep’s own slicing software, BLADE, the inner structure of the object can be influenced by changing the amount of infill printed in certain areas.  Load-carrying structures can be printed in a more solid manner, while in other places material and therefore weight can be saved.

Short ramp-up and important findings

After printing more than 70 parts on the new BigRep PRO, Patricia Moraes draws an overwhelmingly positive conclusion. “The ramp-up was very short. After only three months we have achieved a machine efficiency of 80%.” Findings from this learning phase were quickly turned into further process optimizations. It turned out that even when using larger nozzles and an increased layer thickness, a high surface quality could be achieved, generating parts that could be used right away with almost no postprocessing. So, time-to-part was halved, and the number of printed parts was doubled. In comparison to the previous, traditional process, Metso Outotec’s evaluations after seven months show cost reductions between 55% and 70%, depending on the part.


The positive experience of using BigRep’s printers in production has also sparked the creativity of Metso Outotec’s employees. When asked if they were planning to use the printers for other purposes as well, Patricia Moraes replies: “We see many opportunities here, like jigs and fixtures, but also spare parts. Especially for older equipment often one must import spare parts. Because of the good accuracy and the suitable materials, there are many possibilities for us here.”


At Metso Outotec, everyone is pleased with the implementation of 3D printing into their manufacturing process. Here the large variety of materials offered by BigRep plays a significant role, but most importantly the helpful   support from BigRep’s employees enabled Patricia Moraes to successfully implement this modernization project: “With BigRep, we have a very good partnership!”


Our next generation webinar was a great success with guests joining from all over the world to listen to Frank Marangell, President of BigRep America Inc, and Abbey Delaney, Marketing Manager, discuss the limitations of old FFF technology, why the additive manufacturing market needed a solution, and what BigRep’s new MXT technology®, which powers our latest industrial printers—the PRO and the EDGE—will do for large-scale, industrial 3D printing.

The webinar closed with a dynamic Q & A session, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time to answer all of your questions, so in this article we will dive deeper into what listeners really wanted to know about BigRep’s next generation 3D printers.

What is the layer thickness options and Z build rate at layer height 1,2,3 etc?

The MXT has all the flexibilities in layer heights of a traditional extruder. Specifically, since the extrusion is very fast, the first release is using a 0.6 mm nozzle, for which we recommend a 0.4 mm layer height—a finer resolution is also possible.

Could you specify the max working extruder temperature for the PRO?

The max extruder temperature is 300C as the extruder is designed for a wide range of materials.

Is the max throughput of 1,000 mm/s reliable for long prints?
Certainly. Both the BigRep PRO and the EDGE were built to print large parts and to run in industrial environments—around the clock. The maximum speed at which the X-Y gantry can move is 1,000 mm/s on the EDGE. The PRO has printing speeds of up to 600 mm/s, with throughput of around 400 cm³/ hour.

What speed and acceleration should xy motors move in order to keep up with these extrusion rates?
The speed and acceleration are dynamically set by the Bosch CNC control system to allow for an optimal printing experience and material performance.

What is the accuracy of the PRO and the EDGE?
The accuracy of the printers is considerably better than their predecessors the ONE and the STUDIO, but the important factor is repeatability: the repeatability is much higher than any other extrusion printer on the market, awakening the potential of large-scale industrial 3D printing.



Could you share more details about the new toolpath generation? What makes it so innovative?
The new toolpath is optimized for high-speed and stability and is currently still in development. Stay tuned to our blog for more details as they emerge.

How much do the printers cost?
If you are interested in receiving additional pricing information, please submit a request here.

How does the internal structure of printed parts appear on the EDGE, as compared to the ONE, in reference to the slide titled ‘how it really looks’?
As the EDGE is pre-beta, we have yet to formally compare the internal structure, but we will publish results in 2019. A study of the PRO will be published early in 2019.

According to the material compatibility table, neither the PRO or the EDGE can use PLA. Can you confirm?
The PRO and the EDGE are industrial materials printers; nevertheless, the target applications for the PRO and the EDGE are in the area of industrial/technical plastics—not PLA. However, the BigRep ONE and STUDIO are PLA compatible.

Is it possible to use two spools of two different types of filaments, using the same fusion temperature?
Although the same melting temperature does not mean the same extrusion characteristics, in general, the use of two different types of filament is achievable, but this needs to be tested and validated, prior to its release.

Regarding materials, are you looking into developing polymers with low CTE, as this will expand the use of AM for aerospace composite cure tooling?
The materials we develop and release in 2019 will unlock new applications for forms and molds—including aerospace applications. With reference to technology and the temperature of the various systems, it all depends on the resin systems used for its components. The curing of parts after production is also possible at 60°C. BigRep is currently speaking with prospective clients to gain insight into their requirements. Knowledge sharing is essential to help advance the additive manufacturing industry.

What printer will PEEK material be available on?
The EDGE—the industry leader for high-end thermoplastic materials.

How do support materials work on BigRep machines?
This is where the second extruder comes in to play: this enables the support material to work. BigRep will introduce special support materials for high-end/high-temp build materials.

Are there any food safe plastic filaments offered by BigRep?
PETG is already available and it is FDA approved ( Furthermore, PP is on the materials roadmap and PC also. FDA compliant BigRep materials: PLA, PVA, ProHT, ProHS, and PETG.
With respect to food safety, the material used is one thing, the complete process of producing food products for consumption is a whole other thing.

What is the max temperature capability of your materials from an end use application perspective?
The max extruder temperature is 450° C or 842° F.

Are the materials listed for the PRO and the EDGE all plastic based or can these be printed with metal?
We are an industrial 3D printing company, specifically a thermoset plastics company. There is no plan to print with metal in the future.

Can this new system work with a carbon filled polymer like Nylon?
We are in the development/testing phase with fiber filled plastics. Watch this space!


Frank Marangell is President of BigRep America Inc. and Executive VP of Global Sales at BigRep. He has been operating at the top level of the additive manufacturing industry for over a decade.

Connect with Frank on Linkedin HERE.

Next Generation Large-Scale 3D Printing Webinar

Large-scale 3D printing is on the brink of transforming additive manufacturing (AM) and BigRep’s next generation of engineering-grade printers—discussed in detail during the webinar—set a new standard for the industry. If you joined us for the live webinar, we hope that you enjoyed it, however, if you missed it, you can still watch a recording of the full webinar here or read on for a summary.

Frank Marangell, President of BigRep America hosted the webinar with the help of Abbey Delaney—Marketing Manager.The webinar took guests on a journey from traditional FFF technology and its limitations to BigRep’s next generation of industrial 3D printers: the BigRep PRO and the BigRep EDGE, both equipped with new MXT®—Metering Extruder Technology, which solves two of the fundamental limitations of FFF technology: low throughput and low repeatability.

The BigRep Strategy

The question was posed: what makes BigRep different from other AM manufacturers? First, BigRep is application led and customer-centric. That means that value-added, and innovative parts are identified, designed and built before materials and systems are put in place. Presently, new applications are coming on the market from functional prototyping, jigs and fixtures, to end-use parts. The evolution of AM from experimental prototyping to industrial end-use parts happened at lightning speed—and Fortune 500 companies now see the commercial benefits. As companies like Ford, Daimler, Etihad, Toyota and Boyce Technologies—customers of BigRep—turn to AM for faster product development, on-demand spare parts, and futuristic applications; it’s clear that AM has shifted in its utility for the manufacturing sector.

Traditional FFF Technology

“If it melts, we can print it,” said Moshe Aknin, Chief Technology Officer, referring to standard FFF/thermoplastic extrusion print technology. Indeed, FFF can produce very good dimensional repeatability with good dimensional stability. It’s on these pillars that additive manufacturing progressed from small, basic printed models to the latest revolution—large-scale industrial AM.

However, with disappointing throughput, and low repeatability, FFF’s functionality beyond experimental design, has until now, disappointed engineers. Moreover, with the relatively low surface quality of printed parts, the industry plateaued—since the commercialization of FFF in the early ‘90s.

Metering Extrusion Technology

Why the Low Throughput?

In order to understand why throughput was previously low, you need to look at the basic concept of FFF: either a gear/wheel mechanism pushes a filament into a hot nozzle, or a screw mechanism pushes polymer pellets into a hot nozzle.

So, you have a very fast reaction process—the movement—and a very slow process—the melting. They need to be synchronized to have a precise deposition of the material. Thus, the previous solution was to slow everything down—to a speed that the thermal melting process allowed. Thus low repeatability is a consequence of producing a 3D object without controlling the flow of the material. With many industrial 3D printers, the volume of material extruded is unknown.

New Frontier in Additive Manufacturing

Evidently, the market demanded a solution, so BigRep pioneered the MXT® (Metering Extruder Technology.) The result: transformative throughput and high repeatability; two unique selling points of BigRep’s next generation of large-scale 3D printers—the BigRep PRO and the BigRep EDGE.

BigRep’s MXT® (Metering Extruder Technology) is set to redefine additive manufacturing. When compared to traditional FFF technology, the new innovation by BigRep, is capable of printing speeds of 1,000 mm /s—on the BigRep EDGE and exceeding 600 mm /s on the PRO. Importantly, these print speeds are achievable without diminishing the accuracy of the print. Marangell, who has decades of experience in additive manufacturing, explained in detail how MXT® works and why, with controlled extrusion and a Bosch Rexroth CNC system—a new level of throughput is possible.

Furthermore, BigRep’s materials are developed in partnership with BASF—the largest chemical producer in the world. Engineering-grade materials, now possible on the BigRep PRO extend the possible applications for large-scale 3D printing—once a major barrier in industrial AM. Thermoplastic materials can now be used in both new printers, but the BigRep EDGE, due to be released in Q2 2019 has an even wider range of high-performance materials such as ABS/ASA, PC, PP, and PEI (Ultem.)

New Printers: The PRO and the EDGE

BigRep has set a new standard for the industry, with the release of the PRO and the EDGE, our next generation printers—that respond to industrial demands. Now built with a state-of-the-art Bosch CNC system, enclosed build chambers, and MXT® technology.

The EDGE, which is due to be released in Q2 2019, promises to reshape AM as we know it—with high-performance materials, speed, and precision extrusion. The webinar drew to a close with a ten-minute questions and answers session, with questions rolling in from industry enthusiasts, across the globe.

Watch the full webinar here.


Frank Marangell is President of BigRep America Inc. and Executive VP of Global Sales at BigRep. He has been operating at the top level of the additive manufacturing industry for over a decade.

Connect with Frank on Linkedin HERE.

Webinar Recap: Large-Scale 3D Printing – Realizing Value from Design to Production

Last week’s webinar on the value of large-scale 3D printing was incredibly well received by BigRep’s network across the world. If you joined us for it – thanks for your company! If you missed it, never fear –you can watch a recording of the webinar here and read on for a recap of the main topics explored.

The webinar was hosted by Frank Marangell, President of BigRep America, following a short introduction from Marketing Manager Abbey Delaney. The main focus of the webinar was large-scale 3D printing and what its power means for a variety of industries, including exploration of the specific use cases.

What is Large-Scale 3D Printing?
The BigRep ONE large-scale printer has a print volume of one cubic meter, making tooling, prototyping and production processes much faster and more effective. So too are 1:1 scale prototypes, which can give designers more valuable information about their own projects by letting them test it in terms of fit, flexibility or strength. That means a short production runs of smaller parts can be achieved in a single print. Without large-scale 3D printing, the larger parts of the projects would never be printed in one piece, making it more difficult for technical staff to develop and visualize market-leading ideas. Compared to the process of gluing together separate components, large-scale 3D printing increases accuracy and strength of big prints. Moreover, it can reduce post-processing time. Large-scale 3D printing offers new end-use product possibilities at full specification.

Large-Scale 3D Printing For Industrial Objects
As Marangell underlines in the webinar, large-scale 3D printing is used in four major applications in industry. Starting with prototyping and modelling, every end-use part can be primarily 3D printed and used as the prototype before the production starts. This method is widely used, among others, in aerospace, automotive, architecture and many additional industries.
Tools and jigs are the second application and probably the most growing area for both BigRep and large-scale 3D printing in general. Adding many benefits for manufacturers, such as speed, flexibility and reduced costs of production, it improves the quality and outlook of the end-use parts of the projects. Large-scale 3D printing can also significantly improve the safety of manufacturing operators, which greatly influences the safety of employees.

The third application, patterns and molds, makes the designs much more accurate and effective comparing to the manual production processes or other alternative technologies. It is widely used not only in metal casting or architecture, but also in marine or wind power.

Short production runs, such as Deutsche Bahn’s headrest, is Marangell’s final additive manufacturing application example. It may have been last, but it is certainly not least – it was said to be potentially the biggest opportunity for large-scale 3D printing. Since additive manufacturing is no longer limited by size, the industry has no limits when it comes to effective short production runs.

Industrial 3D Printing Use Cases
Steelcase, founded in 1912, is the largest global B2B contract furniture company in the world, and they have been using their BigRep ONE since 2016. The Steelcase Munich Learning + Innovation Center has successfully produced full-size, full-specification furniture with a faster turnaround time – producing prototypes in just four days, rather than two months. Hint: our next webinar will delve deeper into this exciting user case!

Steelcase is one of our customer for which 3D printing brought them from design to production

Etihad Airways Engineering is part of the Etihad Aviation Group, with a team of more than 3,000 professionals all over the world. The key barrier to using additive manufacturing technology for production of aircraft cabin interior was the lack of EASA and FAA-certified materials. The BigRep-Etihad partnership was mainly focused on jointly developing AM-suitable polymers that pass the certification process. Large-scale 3D printing not only reduced the costs of producing the aircraft cabin interiors, but it also brought the on-demand production in-house.

Teignbridge Propeller International is a high-performance marine engineering components company producing its signature custom-designed propellers for luxury yachts, ferries and fishing boats. In 2017, the company invested in a BigRep ONE, which helps them manufacture sand cast patterns in two days instead of three. Furthermore, it reduced costs for the pattern maker of up to 90% and decreased the risk of labor shortages, of being out-bid by low-wage locations.

We look forward to following up with another webinar on 29th November. Many thanks to everybody who made the webinar possible, especially our illustrious hosts:


Frank Marangell is President of BigRep America Inc. and Executive VP of Global Sales at BigRep. He has been operating at the top level of the additive manufacturing industry for over a decade.

Connect with Frank on Linkedin HERE.

Webinar Recap: Revolutionizing Architecture and Construction with 3D Printed Formwork

Last week, we aired our very first webinar on 3D printing and its emerging role in construction and architecture. We were thrilled to have so many people joining from around the world – many people tuned in from across Europe, the US and Asia Pacific! If you missed it, never fear – you can watch a recording of the webinar here and read on for a recap of the topics explored and the ideas shaping the industry.

After a brief introduction from Abbey Delaney, BigRep America’s Marketing Manager, NOWlab’s co-founder Jörg Petri began the webinar, joined by Prof. Tobias Wallisser, co-founder of LAVA and professor of innovation construction and spatial concepts. Together they explored their vision of a unified construction process and make a strong case for the current and future uses of 3D printing in the industry. Petri and Wallisser presented various fascinating use cases, including the never-before seen sensor integration project. Below is a very brief summary of the webinar, but we do encourage you to watch it yourself for the full effect, including slides, images and videos!

Construction with 3D Printing - A smart concrete wall

New Digital Craft

The construction industry is demanding a shift towards more automation and robotic tools, which opens up the chance for architects and engineers to address and solve new topics that were traditionally addressed only by highly skilled and experienced craftsmen. The problem is that these craftsmen do not exist anymore or are too cost intensive for the average project. In this context, we coined the word ‘digital craftsmanship’, which means that the current technology in the context of Industry 4.0 has the potential to bring back the advanced skills of former craftsmen in a digital context. At the forefront for innovation in the construction industry are the materials. One user case is presented in the webinar of a 3D printed model, where the water-soluble PVA filament is used as support and is embedded in cement. The example shows the new possibilities for designing structures and molds with complex geometries, enabled by the soluble filament.

Innovative Building Construction

The first example given in this topic was the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi (Barcelona, Spain), which has been developed and built using the first notes of ‘parametric’ thinking in the form of physical models – a design method based on rules and parameters to develop the shapes and the processes behind the design (that of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, in the 1880s).

The next example Petri and Wallisser reference is the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, which was inaugurated in 2006 and was the first project successfully built through the use of CAD CAM technology directly linked to fabrication processes.

Process Chains Automotive vs Construction

Compared to construction, the automotive industry has the whole process from design and planning to assembly in-house. This is not the case for the construction industry, which utilizes an outdated linear process, meaning the demand for new digital tools is great. Industry 4.0 enables now the linking of digital fabrication to the design and CAD CAM processes.

The full process chain can be viewed in the webinar, but essentially the result is that facades and new buildings can work with 3D-printed casts, allowing for a more advanced design, increased building speed and improved building efficiency. One core example is a project conducted by NOWlab in cooperation with Geiger, to restore the facade of a monument using 3D printing. The cast models were printed, and the concrete pieces were installed on the building.

Construction with 3D Printing


Since the 1990s, advancements in graphic design has reached architecture, as people began designing free forms with complex geometrical structures. The only way of achieving this was with huge styrofoam blocks which were milled with CNC machines.

The example given in the webinar is the case of Frank Gehry Zollhafer in Düsseldorf, for which the formwork was milled for pre-casted elements one at a time. The problem with this method is that the milling produces a lot of styrofoam waste.

The advantages of 3D printing in this context are that you only print the material that is needed to form the concrete, and you can print high-quality polymers that are recyclable. If the strength is sufficient, you can even print PLA as biopolymer, which you do not need to recycle – you can give it back to the natural material flow.

To sum it all up, the webinar was an exciting experience for us at BigRep, as it gave us the opportunity to interact with our audience, answer their questions, and inspire new ideas and designs for construction and architecture. We can say with confidence that we will be looking forward to more webinars in the very near future. Save the date: September 6th we will be hosting the next webinar, so stayed tuned for registration details!

Many thanks to everybody who made the webinar possible, especially our illustrious hosts:

Jörg Petri / Co-founder of NOWlab Innovation Department of BigRep

Tobias Wallisser / Professor of Innovation Construction and Spatial Concepts – Co-founder of LAVA- Laboratory of Visionary Architecture in Berlin

Abbey Delaney / Marketing Manager, BigRep America

Watch the webinar

June Webinar Approaching! 3D Printing in Architecture and Construction

BigRep is coming to your very own computer screen – we’re pleased to invite individuals and companies with an interest in 3D printing, architecture or construction to join our free expert webinar on June 26 2018, at 2PM EDT (Boston, Toronto) and 2PM CET (Berlin, Paris).

The international architecture and construction industries are increasingly replacing traditional methods of designing, model-making (see here a user case on 3D-printed architectural models) and building with advanced technologies.

Architect Jörg Petri, Co-Founder of NOWlab @ BigRep, is an innovator at the forefront of integration of technology into architecture. With NOWlab and BigRep, Petri works on innovative ways of utilizing 3D printing, with the aim of saving companies time, money and improving functionality. One such example is the work Petri and his colleagues did with Geiger GmbH on producing 3D-printed concrete casting molds for a heritage building project.


Attendees at the webinar will learn about integrated sensors, molding, complex geometries, and more, exploring what is around the corner for additive manufacturing in construction and architecture. A range of use cases – including one never-before-published sensor integration project – will be front and center of the webinar to illustrate exactly how some forward-thinking companies are using 3D printing technology.

The webinar is free and open to anybody with an interest in the aforementioned fields, and Petri says he is looking forward to helping attendees discover approaches to designing and building that could work for their businesses and specific applications.

The NOWlab and BigRep teams are excited to welcome attendees to the webinar and encourage interested parties to register as soon as possible – spots are limited, so hop to it and register!

Register for the Webinar

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