Following Joshua Johnson’s illuminating article focusing on developments in hybrid additive/subtractive fabrication systems another entry-level system of this nature has come to light here on 3DPI — the rather cleverly named 2BEIGH3 (or 2×3 or 2 by 3 – get it?).
Instructables carries a lengthy ‘how to make your own 2D CNC machine that converts into a 3D Printer’ post on this combination machine. The 2BEIGH3 is attention grabbing in a couple of ways. First and foremost it is an entry-level printer, based on the FDM process, that can print a greater range of materials than the typical ABS or PLA. It can print nylon materials. This is significant in that it brings new material properties, and by extension a greater range of applications, to users. Here’s what Taulman, the author of the instructables post had to say about 3D printing with nylon:
“Nylon and its derivative polymers have some great features that can be modified with fill density and layer height. Imagine being able to print a permanent coffee filter, bearings that need no lubrication, pliable IPhone cases, extremely tough bands that are so flexible you can tie them in a knot and they’ll still support 200lbs!”
Furthermore, the machine has been developed with a primary goal being quick and easy configurations between CNC – 3DP – CNC and back again. Taulman suggests this has been achieved:
“While CNC machines work with large X-Y lateral forces (cutting bits) they are very powerful but move very slow and 3D printers have almost no lateral force requirement (other than the platform) and move very fast. Because neither machine needs a fast “Z” axis, the 2BEIGH3 is designed to allow you to swap out the X-Y sections, recalibrate and back to cutting or printing in less than an hour. Actually, my 2BEIGH3 takes 15 min including calibration.”
Finally, another notable feature of the 3D printer side of the 2BEIGH3 is the build volume — 14” x 14” x 12”! For the CNC machine the Z axis is halved. The full specs for both 3DP and CNC capabilities of this system are set out in the post.
This is an open source project and seems to be gaining traction, but by offering diversity of process and materials, the potential for this type of system is vast.