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MDA Technologies 4/2015

MDA Technologies 4/2015

Rapid prototyping guided

Rapid prototyping guided by “igus” linear guides Reprap xBot is the printer that produces itself. Using the principle of “Fused Deposition Modelling” (FDM), the xBot from Reprap Austria is a 3D printer that can produce its own essential parts very quickly and precisely. The components from igus drive modular system make an important contribution in order for the printer to function. T he market for 3D printers is rapidly growing, and so is the reputation of the “Reprap” brand. Especially because, “Reprap” is no manufacturer and no company, but, as it were, an “open source” project freely available on the internet which can be used by many. English Professor Adrian Bowyer, in 2006 developed a 3D printer which can produce plastic parts that are needed for its own construction: the self-replicating printer or “replicating rapid prototyper”, in short “RepRap”. He published the design data and drawings on the internet. His objective was to enable as many users as possible to About Company name: igus GmbH Headquarters: Cologne, Germany Turnover: € 469 million Employees: 2,700 worldwide Products: motion plastics, plastic components for moving applications: energy chain systems, cables, polymer bearings, linear bearings, low-cost-automation construct the 3D printer and to also continue to develop it. This unusual approach is successful and attracts wide circles. It means that although the RepRap uses the same basic structure in different countries, their characteristics are quite different. xBot from Reprap Austria: quick and precise The second generation xBot (Image 01) developed by Benjamin Krux/ Reprap Austria is impressive already at first sight by the solid aluminium body. However, more important are the precision and the operational speed, both of which are remarkable, as the developer explains: “The xBot prints with an accuracy of up to 2/100 mm. But in practice, usually a structure made of 1/10 mm thick layers will suffice. And since we have reduced the weight of the moving parts to the minimum, the printer achieves a very high speed without any vibration.” To ensure high speed without any vibration, factors such as low dead weight of the print head, high quality drive systems and the stable, precise guiding of the print head and print bed are responsible. The linear guides from “igus” are used in the X and Y axes with 2 parallel running lead screw units from the “igus” drylin range and driven by stepper motors, which ensure precise positioning of the print bed in the Z axis. Drive components from the “igus” modular kit The trapezoidal threaded nuts made of high performance polymer iglidur J, and of the type drylin JFRM with a 10 × 2 mm trapezoidal lead screw were chosen for this operation. Due to its built-in lubricant, they provide an excellent gliding properties and minimum friction. These properties provide a vibration-free, quick travel and precise positioning of the print bed. Non-driven guides are attached at the four corner points of the print bed, drive elements from the igus modular system are also used here. The vertical guides for the travel of heated bed, via drylin R linear plain bearings of type RJUM-01, in which an enclosed anodised aluminium adapter, whose dimensions correspond to the standard recirculating ball bearings, is 20 MDA Technologies 4/2015

MACHINE ELEMENTS 01 02 combined with a liner made of iglidur J. With the xBot, Benjamin Krux aims at discerning private users as well as schools, universities and the industry. “The printer is not only fast and accurate, but is also of high quality while ensuring durability. It can process different materials - from compostable “PLA” and the standard material “ABS” up to flexible materials such as nylon and rubber-like plastics. The construction is solid, and all major components are produced in Austria or Germany.” With Reprap’s identity to offer low cost 3D printers, many users can take advantage of the generative manufacturing. This is another reason for Benjamin Krux to use “igus” components and other low-cost standard supply components. He got to know the company, incidentally, almost on site, at the trade fair “Automation” in Linz. The headquarters of RepRap Austria is in Neuhofen/Krems, just 30 kilometres away. “One will use 3D printers just like the PC” With the design and positioning of the xBot as a high quality, durable yet cost- effective 01 Second generation xBot, developed by Benjamin Krux, Reprap Austria 02 Linear guides from “igus” drylin range, ensure precise desired movement and positioning (second from top); Top view of the linear guides (third from top) 03 Trapezoidal lead screw from igus drylin range, with in-built lubrication and excellent gliding properties 3D printer, Benjamin Krux encounters brisk demand. Now he has equipped an “open technology laboratory” with eight xBots, whose lab was established by several schools in Vorchdorf/Austria. He is convinced: “In a few years people will use 3D printers as they use PCs today.” Photographs: Teaser Fotolia, igus GmbH www.igus.com 03 MDA Technologies 4/2015 21

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