Outdoor sporting goods used to be a tough market for 3D printing to break into, but fused particle fabrication can change that. A team led by engineers from Michigan Technological University and re:3D, Inc. developed and tested the Gigabot X, an open source industrial FPF 3D printer, which can use waste plastic particles and reform it into large, strong prints. In their new paper, published in Additive Manufacturing the team lays out how fab labs, which are prototyping and technical workshops that allow personal digital fabrication, and other 3D printing hubs like makerspaces, public libraries or schools, can economically sustain themselves while printing environmentally friendly products using FPF. In some cases, the return on investment for a Gigabot X reached above 1,000% for high-capacity use paired with recyclable feedstock. Recycle, Print, Repeat with Gigabot X. The Gigabot X is not the kind of 3D printer that fits on the kitchen table. What’s new with the Gigabot X is a process called fused particle fabrication, or fused granular fabrication, that skips the step of making filament before 3D printing and saves one melt cycle. FPF printing beat the economics of even the cheapest decks using commercial pellets and dropped in cost using waste plastic. For green fab labs as well as the burgeoning makerspace scene around the world, the Gigabot X presents a customizable, open source, environmentally friendly and fun option to help sustain its 3D printing center.

Read the full article at Michigan Technological University