Is TDIA Honoree and Fellow, Thomas Suarez About to Change the World?
By Craig Hatkoff
Thomas Suarez at TDIA:
The ORB 3D printer is intended to print 10x faster, has full modularity, a new coding language and, oh by the way, uses an open source architecture. Those who saw Thomas at our 2012 Awards when he was 12 might not be completely surprised that he has come up with all of this just two years after we gave him a Makerbot just to see what he could came up with. Yesterday the leading 3D printing industry trade publication, 3Dprint.com, published the below article on Thomas who is now 15. I have been working “secretly” with Thomas over the past year doing weekly Skype calls from his basement and garage and watching all this unfold. It’s been amazing!
When we honored Thomas at our 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, he was only 12 years old, an app creator and founder of the app platform Carrot Corp.
For Thomas, the main problem with 3D printing is that it is just “too damn slow.” So Thomas conceived of a revolving printer bed, used modular design and created his own elegant and fully intuitive “ORB Print Code” that is simpler and requires roughly 10 times fewer lines of code than the industry fav G Code. The analogy for the ORB Print Code can be thought of as similar to programming in BASIC rather than FORTRAN.
This seems to work because of the printer’s modular structure with its parallel commands/communication structure which sends commands directly to each component simultaneously — avoiding command conflicts. The mnemonic code makes debugging much simpler, and its elegance will make it much more accessible to the mass audience.
To learn even more about Thomas, start by watching his acceptance at TDIA 2012 and the TED Talk he gave at age 12, to the left:
DISCLAIMER: The text below was originally published on 3dprint.com on January 12, 2015, written by Brian Krassenstein
When it comes to 3D printing, speed is one of the areas in which we would all love to see the most improvement. After all, who wants to wait hours for a fist-sized object to be fabricated? In a world where things are taking place at an ever quicker pace, the lack of speed within the 3D printing process is certainly holding the technology back.
Over the last year we have heard several claims by the leaders within the industry that their forthcoming 3D printers will in fact be much faster. HP claims that they will have a new “ten times faster” Multi Jet Fusion technology available in 2016, while 3D Systems is working hard on a machine they claim will be 50 times faster than current printers on the market today. With that said, little is being done within the consumer market, particularly for FFF/FDM machines. These printers seem to have hit a major speed barrier unless the entire printing process is re-imagined.
The ORB uses several technologies new to the industry. These include a modular setup, allowing for customization and the rapid switching of particular components. It utilizes a spinning disc architexture, similar to that of a record player. The platform rotates rapidly, thus translating into print speeds which are 10 times that of your typical FFF/FDM 3D printer. Additionally, the ORB printer will be able to use special magnetically enhanced filaments containing specks of metal, which enable it to heat up, melt, and extrude much faster than filaments you may be used to. This, combined with a new heating process which stacks several heating elements on top of one another with a small air gap in between, should equate to the ability to extrude large quantities of molten plastic within a short time frame.
The modular system is part of an open development kit that CarrotCorp will soon be making available. This means that custom modules will be able to be created and used for the machine. Each module will handle a different print function. One module is used for extrusion, another for disc rotation, and so on. Each print instruction is then transmitted to the particular module which requires it.
As for print instructions, Suarez has developed his own type of code. The ORB printer will not use G-code, instead relying on ORB Print Code, a human-readable code which can be understood by practically anyone. Below is a short example of what this code will look like:
heat extruder 230;
The printer itself is shaped almost like a round fish bowl, and provides a full 360-degree viewing angle of the object being printed, even though the build platform is fully enclosed. Suarez and his company plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise the necessary funding to mass produce this incredible new 3D printer in the coming weeks. Those interested can sign up on the company’s webpagein order to be notified of the forthcoming campaign. We will have to wait until then, it seems, before a price for the ORB is announced.
— Craig Hatkoff