I’m viewing a very curious video from Tokyo-based ENOMOTO, who seem to have developed a 3D printer that can print in many directions.
It’s a hybrid device that combines a 3D printhead with a 5-axis CNC milling component. A CNC mill uses a high-speed bit to cut away material and is commonly used in manufacturing.
I’ve seen this before: at a Euromold a few years ago, I saw DMG MORI’s hybrid 3D metal printer, which would print the metal object, and then mill its surface smooth with the CNC.
It seems that the ENOMOTO device, the 3D5X-a hybrid machine, could do the same, except using plastic instead of metal. Smooth plastic surfaces from 3D printed objects. That’s not particularly amazing, because you can achieve smoothness in other ways.
What’s more interesting is that the ENOMOTO 3D printhead is attached to the CNC 5-axis motion control system. This means that the printhead can move not only in X, Y and Z dimensions, but also in other directions.
This means that the machine can print layers in other directions! They say in the video that, “This machine is capable of not only planar lamination, but also 5-axis lamination.”
It’s an intriguing idea that could enable several new ways to 3D print plastic:
Support material could be simplified or even eliminated in some 3D models, as the print can be tipped appropriately for plastic deposition on what would otherwise be extreme angles. However, some geometries would still require support material…