Your home 3D printer probably sits comfortably on your desk or a workbench. It’s convenient, but it’s not particularly portable.
All that might be changing with the debut of Addibots, a new mobile 3D printer technology from inventor Robert Flitsch. What should you know about this new tech?
All about Addibots
Portability is a challenge for most 3D printers, whether you’re talking about a compact model for home use, or one for business production. They just don’t carry well.
Robert Flitsch, a former engineering student, might just have the answer with his Addibots technology.
Basically, Flitsch took the concept of a 3D printer and married it to a mobile robot. The result?
A robotic 3D printer that can go where you want it to go, thanks to four wheels. Flitsch has taken things a step farther by actually turning Addibots into a startup business with a focus on developing and producing mobile 3D printing robots.
“By making additive manufacturing components completely mobile, you break free of all the workspace limitations of 3D printing. But Addibots also greatly opens the field to many new application spaces for additive manufacturing,” Flitsch explained.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these are just your regular, run of the mill 3D printers with a set of wheels under them. They’re more than that.
There’s plans to create both remote controlled printers, as well as autonomous robots that will move themselves wherever they’re needed.
The printers will also be able to do their thing (printing) almost anywhere. A series of print heads underneath the robots will allow them to use a wide range of different materials, and print right beneath them.
Imagine a robot 3D printer rolling up to your table at a café and 3D printing an object right on the floor.
“Once you get rid of that confined workspace,” said Flitsch, “you make the world your workspace. There’s no telling what you can do.”
Addibots were originally designed to drive over ice (on a hockey rink), and print ice to resurface the rink on the go. From that point, the idea grew until now it’s something that has enormous potential for disruption in almost any industry imaginable.
Flitsch imagines his printers resurfacing roadways, moving caustic, toxic material, and much more, all autonomously.
Don’t look for Addibots to hit the market just yet. While there are several different working prototypes, nothing’s made it to market yet.
Flitsch is seeking funding for his project, and it will be at least late 2016 before anything’s available for buyers. Still, it’s an exciting prospect.