US-based company Southwest Florida 3D has turned old shipping containers into a "standard platform" for 3D devices to print in.
The Mille 3D printer can be stacked, shipped and parked in a driveway or garage, “and at the end of a road trip [you can] open the doors to a new object”, Southwest FL 3D founder Andy Tran told 3DPrint.com.
The news site said the innovation "could dramatically increase the mobility of 3D printing", while cutting production costs associated with the machines. It overcomes the issue that 3D printing is often not feasible for individuals as they cannot store and operate such a large-scale device. The shipping container-stored printer could potentially be "stacked, decorated, and customized however a user would like".
Tran said: "When you start building a large machine, one of the largest costs is the frame. The Mille solves this with its design and uses a watertight weather proof shipping container hull. 3D printer hardware bolts directly to the steel walls. Shipping containers offer standard interior and exterior sizes so virtually any container can be retrofitted."
Containers of lengths 20, 40, and 52 feet can be used, and the inventor said there is potential for expansion modules, including onboard batteries such as the solar-charged Tesla Power Wall, material shredding and extrusion options, a conveyor-belt style print bed and 3D scanners. The containers could become entirely mobile, automated 3D printing workstations.
Tran commented: "One extension module includes an onboard material handling module that shreds plastic to be extruded as filament. The filament can be mixed with other materials for various properties. With the advancement of new material technologies and hybrid filaments the Mille 3D printer will make large objects bigger and better."
He plans to either open-source the design on the 3DPB.com forum or to turn it into a commercial product, for creators to make their own with DIY kits.
3d printer supplies are coming soon at priceless-inkjet.com. Stay tuned!
Source: The Recycler