3D Printers

The European 3D Printer Race: German RepRap’s New Software

Europe has seen a new wave of desktop 3D printer manufacturers gaining relatively large funding and developing strong expansion plans this year: Could Zmorph, Zortrax, Ion Core, Leapfrog and co now be seen as a ‘chasing pack’ behind European desktop 3D printer manufacturing leading brand, Ultimaker? As German RepRap releases a major software update, adopting Simplify3D to upgrade the output of its range of printers, should this company be considered as part of the pack chasing Ultimaker too?

German RepRap GmbH, located in Feldkirchen near Munich, was established in 2010. Since then the company has gained a reputation for continually innovating new prosumer printing products, expanding its retail range of electronics and mechanics, and adding new channels such as seminar provision and book sales.

German RepRap has announced that 3D printing software Simplify3D has replaced the Repetier-Host and Slic3r packages that previous accompanied their range of printers aimed at the desktop prosumer and industrial markets. The software allows importing of different files, scaling a model up or down, repairing the model code, creating Gcode and provides a quality interface for a range of interaction with the print in process.

Simplify3D incorporates fast slicing algorithms that rapidly create clean codes for complex output models. The enhanced slicing functionality has a heavily influences print quality.  Print layer height can be varied within the model and the print speed and temperature is adjustable.  The user is empowered to reduce the print time and the quantity of material used thanks to complete control regarding where support material and how much support material is being used.

Parameters can be changed within a model allowing the user to increase or decrease fill density to make parts stronger, heavier and so forth. The animated print previewer shows how the model would be printed layer by layer to allow improvements and fixes to the the model prior to initiating a print. The software supportsmulti-model 3D printing to facilitate the placement of multiple models simultaneously on the print bed, each with its own set of print parameters. The software supports dual extruders.

The company’s range of printers will be able to provide greater output precision, a finer quality of print, and offer a higher amount of interactive customisation alongside other benefits of offering profiles for their machines in Simplify3D. Those printers include the aesthetically pleasing desktop NEO printer, which hits all the standard low cost Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM / FFF) specifications including a 15cm cubed build area with 0.1mm resolution, for 700 EUROs / USD$950 / CNY ¥ 5800.

The software upgrade may be particularly interesting in regards to another of German RepRap’s printers, the X400. This printer, pitched at ‘professional operators in machinery and plant engineering, small batch production or in electronic industry and for ambitious private users’ has a very large build area capacity at 400 x 400 x 350mm, which places the printer in a product strata alongside the very largest low-to-mid range cost printers. The capacity of the X400 is comparable to the 200x185x280mm Kueling & Kueling Industrial 3D Printer, 600 x 600 x 600 Re:3D GigaBot and 3DMonstr  T-Rex-24, and mammoth 1147 x 1000 x 1188 mm BigRep ONE. Given the size of the prints that the X400 can produce, and its proposed function within batch production and industry, the increased quality and control that the software upgrade provides may be particularly pertinent.

The X400 is available both as a DIY kit – for which German RepRap Australia provide an excellent series of assembly videos here – and constructed format that promises the user the ability to just plug the printer in and be create large scale and batch 3D prints.