Thomas Suarez is the prototype of a teenager for the new century and not just because, at age 15, he was born right across the turn of the millennium. He is a “21st century teen” because his passions are the passions of the new millennium: apps for smartphones, Google Glass, and 3D Printing. He seems to be pretty good at it and his company, CarrotCorp, has already published five Apps. The real game changer could be his ORB 3D printer.
Before launching on Kickstarter, Suarez announced the new rotating 3D printer which, he promises, will be up to 10 times as fast as current filament extrusion-based 3D printers, thanks to a modular architecture and three specific improvements. The first is the rotating platform, called Spinning Disc. By rotating at a high velocity, while the extruder moves over it, it allows objects to print faster. It works similarly to another Kickstarter project Mike recently reported on, the Blacksmith Genesis 3D Printer, although the ORB also introduces a few more upgrades.
For example, its Multiheat Technology, which works by stacking multiple heater elements on top of each other, with a small air gap, in order to heat the plastic faster. This is combined with a custom magnetic filament, which includes tiny metal flakes that allow it to heat up faster and cling to the electromagnetic spinning disc more efficiently. Furthermore, the entire system will be modular and open source, so that there is an individual module to handle the extrusion and the disc rotation, allowing anyone to create personalized modules to fit their own specific requirements.
Since Suarez already has extensive software development experience, one of the most interesting innovations is in the ORB print code. He explains that he designed it for the modern age of 3D printing: the instructions are human-readable and require considerably fewer lines to describe the same printable object, compared to regular Gcode. For instance, an object which is described by 381 lines of Gcode, only required 24 lines of ORB print code. This is possible in part because of the rotating nature of the machine, with coordinates described by spin and slide commands, and allows its modular architecture to be fully plug&play.
It seems amazing that all this was invented by a teenager but, then again, if you were a teenager today, wouldn’t 3D printing and hardware creativity be at the top of your list of things to enjoy?