One of the primary limitations of 3d printing is the size of the objects being made. Build volumes - which determines the maximum size a print can be - on 3d printers vary a great deal, with some coming in at at 4 x 4 x 4 (in) and others at 40 x 40 x 40 (in).
Today, Stratasys, one of the leading 3d printing companies in the world, announced it's closer to solving this problem with what it's calling an "infinite build approach". The system prints on a vertical plane providing nearly infinite part size in the build direction.
“Additive manufacturing represents a great opportunity for Boeing and our customers, so we made a strategic decision more than a decade ago to work closely with Stratasys on this technology, said Darryl Davis, President of Boeing Phantom Works, the advanced prototyping arm for defense and security at Boeing. "The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator enables products to be made at a much larger and potentially unlimited length, offering us a breakthrough tool to add to our robust additive manufacturing processes."
The new technology is being tested by Boeing and Ford as Stratasys looks for applications in the automotive and aerospace industries, which are already using a myriad of 3d printing techniques to lower their costs and speed up their time to market with new products.
"Our vision at Ford is to make high-speed, high-quality printing of automotive-grade parts a reality. We are excited about the future opportunities that the scalable and versatile Infinite-Build concept can unlock, and look forward to collaborating with Stratasys to help achieve our goals,” said Mike Whitens, director, Vehicle Enterprise Sciences, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering.