3D printers with a conveyor belt instead of a traditional work table are nothing new. We wrote about their concepts many times on our website – in the past, the construction of such machines was undertaken by, among others Printrbot from Pintrbelt, or the Dutch start-up Blackbelt3D. Although none of them was successful (Printrbot did not make it, because it collapsed), now one of the most popular Chinese 3D printer manufacturers – Creality, is joining the group of companies trying to revolutionize classic 3D printing from thermoplastics.
Creality has gained its popularity due to the production of cheap, amateur 3D printers, which, thanks to the relatively relative quality of work and simplicity of assembly (selected models are delivered with assembled key components), quickly achieved success. The most famous models are the CR-10 and the Ender 3 V2. Now Creality is developing a 3D printer with an (theoretically) infinite workspace.
The design of the new device will be completely different from the models sold so far. In the upcoming CR-30, the traditional workspace will be replaced by a conveyor belt that will enable the production of endlessly long prints. The concept is that, instead of the traditional vertical object building, the item is printed at an angle and the conveyor belt is constantly moving.
What gives a new approach to 3D printing?
The first advantage of such an unconventional workspace is the possibility of continuous 3D printing. The length of the printout is not limited by anything – the tape is constantly moving, “dropping” the previously printed elements into the basket at the end of the device. The 3D printer can thus produce items continuously, the only condition is to supply the right amount of filament. A new approach to 3D printing turns the 3D printer into a small device for series production.
Another noteworthy aspect is the ability to print very long, single objects. Most 3D printers on the market are limited by the fixed size of the print bed. In the case of a conveyor belt, this barrier is removed. In theory, the only problem may be the filament that is running out of time, which must be constantly refilled, and the need to place such a long printout.
With the introduction of the Creality CR-30, the company will join the group of manufacturers of printers with a conveyor belt. Due to the fact that the device has not yet been released for sale, there is not much information about it. The manufacturer shows the operation of the new 3D printer with a short video:
Specifications of the Creality CR-30 prototype:
- layer height 0.20 mm
- nozzle diameter 0.40 mm
- printing speed 40 mm / s
- work area about 200mm x 250mm x ∞ mm
- single Bowden print head
- the ability to print from larger spools
- rigid structure
- filament sensor
- blade for removing prints from the conveyor belt
The price of the new Creality device is not yet known, but the company is likely to offer it for affordable money, just like its other devices. Therefore, the new concept poses a serious threat to its competitors. It is the first 3D printer of this type from a Chinese manufacturer that has a chance to gain popularity in the West. Nevertheless, much information about the CR-30 is yet to be disclosed.
The new Creality device has the potential to popularize the possibility of low-volume production. Most of the available 3D printers require continuous human intervention, while a system equipped with a conveyor belt can print continuously. This opens up many possibilities for the use of additive technology in low-volume production.