3D Printers

Re-engineering large format 3D printing in the BigRep STUDIO G2

In May 2019, leading large format 3D printer manufacturer BigRep broke new ground with the launch of the STUDIO G2. A successor to the original BigRep STUDIO system, the G2 is one of the first fully-enclosed 3D printers from the company, offering the same tried and true principles of its predecessors in a controlled environment, unlocking new material potential.

Five months after the launch of the STUDIO G2, the company sold out of early adopter machines, and is now transitioning to and ramping up for volume production to satisfy demand.

Still in the early stages of the machine’s adoption, 3D Printing Industry speaks to Frank Marangell, President of BigRep America and CBO of BigRep GmbH, to learn more about the STUDIO G2 and how the system fits into the small company’s big plans for the future of 3D printing. 

Inside the BigRep STUDIO G2

The BigRep STUDIO G2 is a large scale FFF 3D printer, made for round-the-clock parts production. It works to a layer height resolution of 0.1 – 0.5 mm, at an acceleration of up to 600 mm/s2, and is controlled using BigRep’s high-speed, high-precision BLADE slicing software. Where the machine presents its real value though, is in its material handling capabilities. A fully enclosed build environment, max bed temperature of 100°C, and heated filament chamber make the STUDIO G2 capable of working with challenging materials like PETG, Pro HT, TPU and PA6/66. Ruby nozzles on the print head also allow processing of fiber-filled materials that are abrasive to other extruders.

The BigRep STUDIO G2 has an enclosed build volume measuring 1000 x 500 x 500 mm (x,y,z) Photo via BigRep
The BigRep STUDIO G2 has an enclosed build volume measuring 1000 x 500 x 500 mm (x,y,z) Photo via BigRep

In order to achieve effective processing of high grade materials in such a large area, the BigRep team had to entirely re-engineer its prior technology. “It’s amazing value and it’s proven technology from the G1 and the BigRep ONE,” comments Marangell, “All of that has been re-engineered into the STUDIO G2.” Some of the questions tackled in the development included, Marangell adds, “How do you keep the bed level on a metre by a half metre bed that keeps a temperature between 80 to 100°C? When it cools down – how to keep that from warping? How to be able to print for a week straight and not lose half a mm?” This focus on precision and repeatability of builds is what has, Marangell asserts, has earned the G2 a fleet of early-adopters.

So far, in its relatively short time on the commercial market, the STUDIO G2 has been picked up by industrial partners across all the key sectors you might expect, namely aerospace, automotive, and defense, as well as in universities and furniture design. Many of these customers, according to Marangell, have purchased the machine on spec only, supported by the renown built by the original STUDIO 3D printer. Though interest in the machine has been largely generated by existing BigRep customers, Marangell estimates that most orders are from new customers, attracted to the STUDIO series for the first time by its enclosed printing environment and high-grade material compatibility. 

“We are providing a print build area of one metre by half a metre, by half a meter, we’re printing with these engineering materials, and the price starts at around  €55,000. So the value you receive for the size and performance is amazing, and because of that, it’s not just aerospace and automotive, transportation that are interested. 

“It’s a system for those that might have had to make compromises before. Those that couldn’t afford a high end extrusion system.”

Future of BigRep: Materials and Big Data

As indicated by the standout feature of the STUDIO G2, material development is high on the list of priorities for the immediate future at BigRep. “BigRep has made this transition to industrial applications,” Marangell explains, “We really see material development as the key to meet those applications, to better bring value to our customers, and ultimately sell more machines.” PETG, Pro HT, TPU and PA6/66 are already 3D printable with the BigRep STUDIO G2, but the company is hoping to make ASA and ABS processing possible in the near future, as well as PP and PC. As an investor in BigRep, leading German materials manufacturer BASF is helping along with these goals. Under an open materials ethos, the company collaborates with other materials suppliers too. “We could never do it all ourselves,” Marangell admits, “There are just too many materials on the market, too many opportunities and too many applications. We need many suppliers to help us along the way.”

Another element of future development at BigRep will focus on the data aspect of the 3D printing process. As the systems start being applied to the production of end-use parts, closed-loop control will be more and more vital. When closed-loop control is integrated into the machines, and they can produce identical parts at different times, “Only then,” Marangell says, “can you say you have repeatable additive processes for low volume manufacturing.” Already, BigRep has started a fundamental exploration of this concept in partnership with Bosch Rexroth, a subsidiary of global engineering and electronics company Bosch. 

“Data control is really critical to manufacturing.” Marangell adds. “It’s bringing real life solutions to the additive world, making additive a legitimate manufacturing solution, compared to molding, milling, casting, forming. And we want to be the leader in large format additive for plastic manufacturing.”

ROI with the BigRep STUDIO G2

As early-adopters of the STUDIO G2 put the machine through its paces, BigRep is building case studies for the system which will be made public in the near future. For parties interested in learning more about the STUDIO G2, request a free ROI analysis to see how quickly it can return its value.  

BigRep will be showcasing its full range of large scale additive manufacturing systems at Formnext 2019, alongside a new inspired application from its award winning NOWLab innovation branch. Find BigRep in Frankfurt Messe from 19 to 22 November at stand C121, hall 12.1.  

BigRep will also showcase the G2 at FABTECH in Chicago, November 11 – 14 in booth A4350.  Request a demo. 

The BigRep STUDIO G2. Photo via BigRep
The BigRep STUDIO G2. Photo via BigRep

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Featured image shows the BigRep STUDIO G2