Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Leapfrog has just released a massive new 3D printer that they’ve dubbed the Creatr XL. Less an upgrade of Leapfrog’s previous printer it’s more like the Creatr’s big brother on steroids — the printer’s massive build size is currently the only real competition for Makerbots recently announced Replicator Z18, and at $5,500 it sells for about $1000 less. Although the BigONE now blows them both out of the water on size.
While the Creatr XL shares many of the same features as the Creatr, including shipping fully assembled and calibrated, a heated print bed, laser cut aluminium parts and the ability to print with a large range of materials, it blows it away in a few key areas.
The first obvious area is the print size. While it shares the same 9 inch by 10 inch print bed it triples the maximum print height up to a staggering 23 inches. That’s a massive print volume of 37.2 liters. Additionally the Creatr XL comes standard with dual extruders, unlike the original Creatr, which had to be upgraded to include the second extruder.
Here are the printer specs:
- Outer dimensions: 500x600x900 mm (19x23x35 inch)
- Build size [LxWxH]: 230x270x600 mm (9x10x23 inch)
- Max. print volume: 37.2 liter
- Positioning accuracy: 0.05 mm
- Layer thickness: 0.05-0.35 mm
- Heated print bed: Yes
- Dual extruders: Yes
- Professional software included: Yes
- Material types: ABS, PLA, PVA, Laybrick, Nylon
- Weight: 37 kg (81 pound)
- Electrical connection: 100-240 V
- Extruder size: 0.35 mm
- Speed X and Y axis: up to 350 mm/sec
- Extrusion speed: up to 60 mm/sec
- Power consumption: 400 W
- Production speed: 0.42 cm3/min
- File format: STL, G-Code
- CE Cerfified: Yes
Leapfrog also used the 3D Printshow in New York to jump on the 3D printing in the classroom bandwagon and launched their own education store with two different curriculum options. Intended for students 10-12 years old, the primary education curriculum plan has fourteen lessons and is designed to familiarize both teachers and students with the concepts of 3D printing. The lesson plan will walk students through the concepts of 3D printing and will teach them how to operate the machine and the programs required to create and generate 3D printable files. It will also walk them through preparing the printer for operation and printing their first objects. Leapfrog partnered with Dutch primary school ‘t Palet from Den Haag. Here is one of the teachers explaining the benefits of having 3D printers in the classroom.
The high school curriculum plan is intended for students 13-16 years old and will expand on the skills learned in the primary education curriculum plan. In addition to reinforcing the skills needed to operate a 3D printer and create and export 3D printable content, the lesson plan will also focus on practical and business applications of 3D printing technology. Additionally it will teach students more complex 3D printing techniques including the use of infill and creating practical support structures. Leapfrog collaborated with Dutch high school Jacobus Fruytiercollege in Apeldoorn when designing the lesson plans. Both curriculums will be regularly updated and expanded as schools all over the world use and test it in classroom settings and as technology advances and evolves.
Leapfrog has also announced a Class in a Crate package deal that will give schools a complete 3D printing starter kit with an extremely generous discount. Each package will come with a Creatr dual extruder 3D printer, 8 spools of PLA filament, 8 spools of ABS filament, a tool kit for maintenance, Simplify3D™ Software , 3 packs of stickers for the print bed, live training and the free curriculum on 30 8GB USB sticks. Full retail value of this bundle is almost $3,200 but Leapfrog is offering the package for only $2,600.
I was unable to view the lesson plans so I can’t comment on how robust they will be or if they will be specific to the Creatr (I strongly suspect that they will be), however they will have a lot of competition. Leapfrog is just the latest in a string of high profile 3D printer companies releasing education plans with ready for school bundles. And while I’m personally pretty excited about the rather aggressive push into classrooms that the industry is starting to make, I have a feeling that the viability of many of these lesson plans will be tested as more and more of them become available. Only time will tell.