3D printer manufacturer Center Street Technologies has built a very large 3D printer in their facility in Youngstown, Ohio. The company, which specializes in large-form 3D printing, providing large mold forms, fixtures, and tooling, says it is one of the largest 3D printers in the world. It is so large that you can park a truck in it.
The fueling motive for them wanting to build a 3D printer to this scale was a “Why not” answer, as Alex Fitzgerald replied when asked why the company wanted to build something this large
The monster printer is the work of Mike Garvey from M-7 Technologies and Chuck George, the CEO of Strangpresse, a company in Youngstown.
“It’s a good representation of Youngstown; everyone is collaborating together to make a great machine,” said Fitzgerald, an additive manufacturing engineer with Center Street. “I think that’s what puts us even farther ahead—just the expertise that’s involved.”
“Big, large parts. You can even make car-sized parts. You can climb into a car that you’ve printed on this machine,” said Alex Roschli with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a science and technology lab sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that’s also involved in this project.
Projects completed with this printer take a shorter time than expected due to the sheer amount of material extruded in a second.
“Our goal is always bigger, faster, cheaper… With machines like this, you can do over 100 pounds an hour, whereas with a traditional desktop printer that everyone’s seen, you’re doing maybe a pound a day,” said Roschli.
“This extrusion head puts out 150 pounds an hour. Strangpresse makes a larger head that can do 500 pounds an hour,” said Fitzgerald.
Making a technology this huge for hugeness’ sake is not really the goal. I could find applications in the creation of very large parts for big projects. There have been some projects of similar sizes that can 3D print a tank for rocket fuel in rockets. We look forward to see the applications of this feat.