The not-especially-modestly titled Industrial Revolution III (IR3) is a next-gen 3D printer that will not only print out your designs, but will assemble them with your non-printable components to create fully functional, sophisticated products in one streamlined process. Creator Buzz Technology claims that this will encourage the reuse of neglected household items and electronics into new, useful items while advancing the development of 3D printing in professional and at-home maker scenes.
According to the IR3’s creators, UK-based Buzz Technology, the 3D printer features a pick and place head that “enables it to produce fully assembled, working products incorporating electronics, motors, rechargeable power packs, touch screens, sensors and even strengthening materials,” and can produce finished creations that are 350mm x 190mm x 500mm (14in x 7.5in x 20in).
With four print heads the machine can print not only the multicolor plastic creations that we are accustomed to seeing from our 3D printers, but can also print out electrical connections, support material and soft layers. In addition, Buzz Technology claims, it can create structurally reinforced ‘walls’ by creating thin tanks that the printer then places reinforcing material/members into, before filling them with resin and then curing the whole thing with UV light.
Buzz Technology has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to support production of the IR3, and will initially produce a “Global Designer Edition,” with the intent of producing a mass market Consumer Edition in 2016. In the intervening twelve months, project head Senake Atureliya told us that the company will “help backers of this Kickstarter to conceive develop and sell products that can be printed and assembled on IR3 Consumer Edition machines.”
It’s interesting stuff—as an example of what the IR3 can do, the Kickstarter video shows us its ability to create a smartphone-controlled toy car with the motors and wheels inserted into the product by the printer’s pick and place head. And that seems like a rather neat solution. But the whether or not the IR3 can really create a “sea change in our mindsets,” and even a “third industrial revolution,” as Atureliya hopes to do, very much remains to be seen.
Images © Senake Atureliya/Buzz Technology