3D Printing, Scanning and Milling in One Fabricating Machine

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What it does

The FABtotum Persoan Fabricator is a machine that may shake things up in the market more than any other. It combines 3-D printing, 3-D scanning and milling. It has raised more than a half-million dollars with a crowdfunding campaign to raise just $50,000. The machine has raised a lot of buzz in the tech world, raising the ante in the 3D printer market.
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The FABtotum personal fabricator uses fused filament fabrication in its additive 3D printing process. This is the same general process used in most low-cost 3D printers these days. With high speed PLA/ABS printing, creating a smooth prototype should be possible, according to the promotion on their Indiegogo page. It also has what's called "heated beds" that supposedly keeps printing smooth with higher quality, also eliminating a need for adhesives.

3 and 4 subtractive manufacturing is where the FABtotum starts to stand out, particularly because it is personal sized. It has a motor and dual heads for engraving and milling wood, light aluminum and brass alloys. It performs 3D milling on light materials (Balsa, Foam, light wood), PCB milling to make circuit boards, 2.5 D profiling (cutting) on light materials, CNC pre-drilling, 4 axis machining on light materials and 4 Axis engraving.

The FABtotum can acquire both small and complex objects in its 3D scanning techniques. Also, there are no DRM restrictions, so images may be used on another type of 3D printer.

The FABtotum leaves a small footprint, like that of a desktop laserjet or inkjet printer, so don't get too many crazy ideas because they might not scale inside the FABtotum. Its enclosure is a small 36cm cube. Instead of any kind of plastic, it has a glass build platform, making it easier to clean and more scratch resistant. It switches modes and according to the creators of the product, it does so without compromising work in the other modes, including 3D printing. Users can switch between them.

FABtotum has a web management tool and can be used with or without a computer, cabled LAN, Wireless LAN and even remotely from the Internet. It can be accessed with mobile devices too. Developers looking to play around can use the Raspberry pi's Raspbian linux distribution to develop more applications for it as well. There is also an onboard camera.

Who is behind it

The startup team, from Milan Italy, say the machine is the world's first low cost desktop personal fabrication device, a multipurpose tool. The FABtotem has patents pending for its technical processes, which use additive 3-D printing, 3 and 4 axis subtractive manufacturing, digital acquisitions and a fully networked experience.

The development team is composed of Marco Rizzuto and Giovanni Grieco, both 28 and their project is currently hosted at the Business incubator district "POLIHUB" of the University of Politecnico di Milano, one of the most renowned european universities in Engineering, Architecture, Industrial Design since 1863.

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