3D printers are an absolutely indispensable tool for prototyping parts, and even manufacturing them in certain situations. But most 3D printers — particularly in the consumer and “prosumer” price range — only print relatively small parts. It’s rare to see a 3D printer with a working volume of more than 12 x 12 x 12 inches. That limits the size of potential parts, or forces you to break a single part up into multiple sections. Fortunately for those of you who have been wanting something bigger, a massive 3D printer called iBridger is launching through Kickstarter.
The iBridger campaign just recently got underway, but it has already quadrupled its funding goal. Two models are being being introduced through the campaign: the iBridger i330 and the iBridger i340. The two models on nearly identical, and the only major differences between them is that the iBridger i340 adds a large base with rolling casters and can print at slightly higher temperatures than the iBridger i330.
The primary selling point of the iBridger is its print volume, which is a whopping 17 x 17.5 x 23 inches. It also has dual extruders, an auto-leveling system, a spring steel build plate held down by electromagnets, a heated enclosure, an aluminum frame, and a large touchscreen controller. When connected to WiFi, users can control iBridger 3D printers remotely from their phone while viewing a video feed from a camera built into the unit.
Those are features you’ll find on most prosumer 3D printers, but iBridger also incorporates a couple of unique ideas. Each of the two extruders can be raised and lowered independently, which helps to keep them aligned. The extruder that isn’t in use can also be raised out of the way while the other is printing in order to avoid unwanted contact with the part. A built-in cleaning pad is used to remove filament from the nozzles between layers. Two backup rolls of filament — one for the primary material and one for the support material — will automatically be loaded if filament runs out. All four rolls are stored within a humidity-controlled enclosure.
If you want an iBridger 3D printer, the Kickstarter campaign will be running until October 15th. Super early birds can get either model for $4,999 (retail price will be $11,999). Rewards are expected to be delivered in March of 2020.