Ben Reytblat, 3DMonstr’s CEO and lead designer of the
T-Rex 3D series is as unique as the printers he creates. The
son of a Russian physicist, inventor, and amateur rocket
scientist, Reytblat is a renaissance geek, equally comfortable
piloting a CNC milling machine, a software development
suite, or a sailboat.
In designing his printer, Reytblat set out to fix many of the
big and small deficiencies he noted in the machines already
on the market, something that he quite frankly admits was a
formidable, perhaps even “Monstrous” task.
He is also quick to point out that, despite the delays it
caused, re-thinking every aspect of 3D printing resulted
in a much better product, and taught him some valuable
lessons he’ll be applying to the next generation of 3DMonstr
products. In this exclusive interview with PD&D, Reytblat
generously agreed to share some of those hard-won insights
with our readers.
PD&D: What were the design goals which drove the
development of the T-Rex 3D series of 3D printers?
Reytblat: We wanted to build a machine that was two
steps beyond anything on the market at the time. So it had
to be really large (up to 8 cubic feet of build volume); it had
to have more extruders than anyone else at the time; and it
had to be able to work with more materials than anyone else
at the time. We think we’ve succeeded in doing just that. In
some areas, we’ve even exceeded our own expectations. For
example, the multi-zone heated bed on our printers is much
more efficient that anyone else’s on the market. Because you
can control each of the 6 x 6” zones individually, you don’t
need to heat the universe with a full 960 watts of power,
saving energy and reducing costs of operations.
PD&D: The extruder mechanism is one of the most
unique aspects of your machine. What does it offer the
end user and what were some of the challenges involved
with designing it?
Reytblat: There are two major advances embodied in
our extruders: a very precise drive mechanism we call our
GentleDrive, and a much more sophisticated thermal system
which uses liquid cooling and components made out of titanium
to manage the temperature within the extruder. Combined, these
technologies give excellent print quality across a very large
range of materials, from PLA to Nylon, from ABS to Polycarb,
from HIPS to paraffin wax. Yes, our machines can print with a
specially manufactured paraffin wax filament. This allows our
users to go directly from a 3D model to a foundry-ready wax
plug. Just print it and ship it to a foundry to be cast into metal
using the old reliable lost-wax casting technology. I’m not aware
of any other machine on the market that can offer that.
On top of that, our extruders are very compact and
light-weight. Our entire extruder, all up, weighs in at just
310 g – less than most NEMA17 motors that are used in
conventional extruders. And this allows us to mount all four of
them in the space and weight limits of two extruders on any
other machine I know.
Sporting a quad-extruder, liquid- cooled print head, a working volume of up to eight cubic feet,
and industrial-grade quality at prosumer
prices, 3DMonstr’s 3D printers occupy a
unique space within the market.
By Lee Goldberg, Editor
THE MONSTROUS TASK OF
DESIGNING 3D PRINTERS
The printer’s water-cooled quad-extruder print head
is designed to deliver precise, repeatable, high-resolution prints using a wide range of materials.