There are a surprising number of 3D printing companies coming out of Poland. Vshaper and 3DGence are two emerging firms that both make high temperature printers. These are now joined by a colleague UBOT3D. UBOT3D is like many 3D printing companies moving up in the world making more expensive 3D printers that are capable of handling high performance materials such as PEEK and PEI. Acording to CEO Michal Melon , they’ve been around since “2015 and made and sold hundreds of 3D printers to polish and euroepan customers. Until this year we were focused strictly on the desktop market, but simultaneously designed an industrial grade machine using the same FFF technology.”
Enclosed chambers, ventilation and higher quality is what many industrial customers want. Increasingly firms are heeding the call and making systems suited for the shop floor or for manufacturing rather than just sitting on someone’s desktop. Is the UBOT3D’s new system a capable one that can actually manufacture at scale? This is something we don’t know yet but if we look at the specs then the company at least is on a route to a promising device.
The P440 printer has a build volume of 440 x 330 x 300 mm and a 1500 W chamber heating system. It seems to have two ball screw and two linear guides inside of the chamber the guides seem enclosed but I wonder if the guides and ball screw will hold up like that. Specifically I’m wondering what will happen to the ball screw lubricant if the chamber becomes 400 C. The idea of having a seperate complete chamber heater is a solid one since lack of thermal control over the heated chamber and the wicking of heat is an issue with many high temperature 3D printers. If this system does maintain a constant temperature and can heat it up properly then this will be an advantage.
The team also installed a four stage chamber filter of HEPA, carbon, PP and cold catalysis. Which sounds very safe indeed although I must confess to have no idea what cold catalysis is. The print bed is fastened with magnets, which is a nice feature, and it is powered by an 800 W heating unit. Which makes me think that its a good thing that there we do not yet have these EU energy efficiency ratings for printers. This should however give your bed a lot of heat and power which is great. Print bed maximum temperature is 150C, nozzle maximum is 400C. The 400 degrees is a tad limiting for some PEEK-like materials but if they have adequate chamber control they should be able to print most high performance materials. And they have automated leveling where, “the software creates the entire table image and then generates its image using the finite element method. This ensures that the print bed of the 3D printer will be calibrated correctly.” They say that their Hellfire hot end has been optimized for high temperature materials and the team has developed their own extruder as well as an own hot end. Its nice to see someone not using a E3D hot end, I would just hate it if Sanjay became too wealthy. The P440 also has automatic updating, a nice emergency off switch, expert mode and on board camera as well as an app to control the printer and can SMS you if there is an issue with the filament or if you’re running out and it costs 13,000 Euros which is $15,000. This makes it double the price of the Intamsys Funmat HT and more expensive than a Vshaper Pro and around 10k less than a 3Dgence Industry F340 and and around the price of an Intamsys Funmat Pro HT. If the performance is there then its a good price point to be at. But, it will have to be significantly better than a Funmat and a bit better than a Vshaper to even be considered by many. UBOT3D is at a sweet spot for HT printing but at the same time this is a part of the market that cares about performance and reliability above all else.
The Ubot does have two very unique features. Appearantly the printer, “has been equipped with the ability to order filaments directly through the device” and it can work for 30 minutes on auxiliary power if the lights go off. Yes people the days of chucking some rods and stepper motors into a box are gone. We have arrived in featureville, expect more features, demand more features. At first glance the UBOT3D has spent a lot of time thinking about features users care about. The things that their machines has on board are things that people do care about. It is exactly these features that allow for office friendly production that will get the next generation of corporate 3D printer customers.