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The Future is Here: America's Top 3D Printer Brands Dominate RMRRF 2024

Peyton Shelton

Peyton Shelton

Marketing and Brand Manager

I'm Peyton with Slice Engineering and we are at the second annual Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival, one of the most exciting 3D printing expos in the country, where companies, makers, and enthusiasts gather from all over the world to see the latest in 3D printing technology. We are here in the VisionMiner booth and today we're gonna walk around the show and see if we can't find any of our partners who are building 3D printers here in the USA.

We're gonna get the inside scoop on their latest innovations and we'll see what they've been up to. Let's see what's making waves at the 2024 Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival.

LulzBot Interview

We're in the LulzBot booth joined by John and we are in front of the Galaxy series of tool heads that feature Bondtech and Slice products on them. Thanks for having me in your booth, John Can you walk me through the extruders and tell me a little bit about y'all's booth setup this year? 

John of LulzBot: Certainly. You know, working with Slice has been great One of the things that we've been able to do with the Galaxy series is just simplify our whole tool head line For a while, the LulzBots have been able to take a few different tool heads.

It's one of the ways that we cut down on obsolescence. So you buy your core, your main LulzBot frame, and then as new technology comes out, stuff from Slice and Bondtech, you're able to keep that machine up to date without having to go buy a whole new machine. But we're very excited to show our Galaxy series here.

Though there are five-tool heads, realistically there are only eight. Really three different ones. The difference here is we have 1.75 and we have 2.85 for your feed stop. So when it comes down to the actual tool heads themselves, probably 80 90 percent of what we expect our users to buy and use is this Meteor.

So Galaxy Series with the Meteor tool head, you can get it in 2.85 or 1.75. This is going to be 80 percent of general use. Comes with a 0.5 nozzle. We do nozzle kits as well, so you can do 0.5, or jump to I believe 0.8 is what we've got on it. So that, that's going to cover a lot of printing use. For our Pro Series, we also make a dual extruder.

This is actually linear actuating so that second nozzle is always going to get up out of the way. But this is called the twin nebula. So you've got your meteor, your twin nebula, and then another fun tool head we make is the asteroid. So this is utilizing the Slice Engineering Magnum+ Yeah. So we've got multiple heater cartridges.

This is going to be a gamma master nozzle 1.2 from the factory. And then we go all the way up to a 2.4-millimeter nozzle to put down just. fat beads of plastic, the quality of the Mosquito components on the bottom has been good for us there. We love that we're able to do the nozzle swaps, essentially one-handed using the torque tool.

Our customers like that a lot. The coupling with the Bondtech LGX on top has finally made it easy for people to do repeatable tensioning. 

John of LulzBot: you know if we're school library fortune 500 and you're running one of these machines and you're having to train somebody You can now just tell them to load the filament and set it to one click.

Peyton Shelton: Yeah, 

John of LulzBot: and they got it 

Peyton Shelton: another, you know question I have how have you seen the performance of These hot ends be in your use on the machines? I assume you guys are running these machines a lot and doing a lot of testing. 

John of LulzBot: Yeah. Yeah. So, we run them for testing and new machine development. 

John of LulzBot: We also run them in our print farm a ton of hours there. We've got 300 machines. Wow. Then we're going every day, making more parts for our machines and doing some contract manufacturing. Cool. We've noticed that the service side of keeping tool heads running has gone down. So these are, these are. Really hassle-free tool heads.

Peyton Shelton: Cool. And then the last thing I want to ask about is I know y'all have a new version of your printer that you're showing off and we'll, we'll insert some B roll of that. So everyone can see it. Can you tell me about the new LulzBot Mini that you have here? 

John of LulzBot: So after quite a few years, we have our next generation to the Mini lineup.

Yeah. This is the mini three. It's a machine that is a Klipper based on the firmware side of things. So we're now a company that builds both Marlin-based machines and Klipper-based machines. We saw kind of a cool area in the market where this firmware could be taken and polished a little bit more because we focus a lot on ease of use.

Peyton Shelton: Awesome. And then what do you see as being the primary use case and an application for the mini three? 

John of LulzBot: Yeah. So you put on. A lot of thought into the Mini 3 and kind of the role it serves, what its purpose is. To help with that, we looked at, what did the Mini 1 do? What did the Mini 2 do? Who was buying these and why?

A lot of our users try to get at least five years, if not 20, 000 continuous print hours on a unit. So when they're coming to LulzBot, they're not necessarily looking for The new printer that they're going to buy this year, because they're really into the hobby. They're looking for that tool to be part of their process.

They're going to have it for a few years. Let's say new technology comes out. They know that LulzBot's not going to put them in a case where they're stuck with an obsolete unit. 

John of LulzBot: So being able to change out that core, that extrusion system is really handy there. It works well for us. And I think we'll see a good reception and the same longevity as its two predecessors.

Peyton Shelton: Yeah. I love it. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. And I'm going to keep walking around and. See what else the show has in store.

OozeBot Interview

Alright, right now we are in the Oozebot booth. I'm joined by Gabe from Oozebot. Thanks for having me here. We've got an awesome display of printers that are all running Slice hotends. Tell me a little bit about Oozebot and these printers. 

Gabe of OozeBot: These printers are designed for industrial use. They are very much created for the abrasive materials.

ABS and up is how we like to say it, engineering grade filaments. They're actively heated to 85C. We're located in South Georgia and are coming. That's why we're here. There's only the third time we've ever had the machines out in public. Haven't lived at NDA with our customer base. Haven't even launched their website.

But we are real, we are coming, we are just cautiously growing the business and we will be very much front and center here very soon. On all of these printers, we have, as you can see, we got a Bondtech extruder. It's the LGX Pro. We offer the Magnum+ as well, we've had really good luck with the Magnum+ to the point where we've not had that much need for the Magnum+.

You can push so much filament through the Magnum+, so that's just our standard go-to hotend.

Peyton Shelton: Cool, so what has, Your experience been with Slice hot ends on these printers? 

Gabe of OozeBot: Very good. Very good. I mean, like I said, all we print, and what we're bringing today is a glass-filled ABS. Yep. I don't know of anything more abrasive than that glass stuff.

We did step up to your new GammaMaster. GammaMaster. Yeah. As well as GammaMaster. We honestly had good luck with the others, but we've stepped up to the GammaMaster's Avin machine specifically that we're trying to kill. It has about 7,800 hours on it. I've pushed at least 40 spools through that since y'all provided me with one of those.

42 kilogram spools through it, while I went with no signs of any type of true wear or anything. So, that's 

Peyton Shelton: Awesome. So obviously you're, you're gearing these towards production because you're doing print farms. Yes. What sort of customers are you seeing, if you can talk about it, what are the use cases that people are actually, you know, using these for?

Gabe of OozeBot: Okay. Still learning that. We've talked from everyone from injection molding companies that are willing to augment their business. Yep. To government contracts, to automotive makers, to a company that makes airplane parts that want to print in high-temperature nylon.

Cool. That, that these do fit the bill. So yes, we're still learning that. We're, we're very cautiously moving forward with production, but these are the finished machines and we're pleased with the Slice hotends. And with Slice, you guys in particular. From the straighter down now, we've had zero problems with this extremely abrasive material.

Peyton Shelton: Yeah. That's great to hear. Cool. Well, thanks so much for showing me this.

Wuxn Interview

I'm in the Wuxn booth joined by Isaac and William from the Wuxn team. And we're going to talk a little bit about what you guys do to cause you guys to have some Slice hotends on your printers. So. Tell me a little bit about Wuxn, whichever of you wants to take it. And then I'd love to dive into why you chose to use Slice hotends.

William of Wuxn: So Wuxn, we're a local Fort Collins, Colorado three brain manufacturer. We develop and assemble the WXR machine. And so this is a Cartesian or a bed sling or the bed slayer. And it's a Marlin-based printer that runs with Input Shaper. And so, one of our huge focuses in this unit was reliability and quality.

And that's always been our top priority in what we do. So, that's a huge reason why we went with the Copperhead Hotend from Slice Engineering. Because we needed something that could reach the temperatures that we wanted and also maintain, like, quality of flow. And everything about that, the copyright audit, from its price down to the way that it looks, just speaks to us.

And that's one of the big reasons why we went to it. So, we just wanted to support a U. S. company as well, and integrating that into our product was a top priority. 

Peyton Shelton: Yeah. You guys are making your printers here in the U. S. We're making our hot ends in the U. S. What informed that decision to make your printers here in the U.S.?

Are there any, obviously there are challenges with that. Can you maybe talk a little bit about what goes into actually making a printer in the U.S.A.? 

Isaac of Wuxn: Yeah, I could talk a little bit about that. So, we wanted to make printers in the United States because we wanted to hopefully bring back some jobs into the economy.

It's a huge struggle, though, because everything is super expensive. But everything can be made in the United States. You just have to figure out how to make it. Automate as much as you possibly can. So the process is pretty straightforward. We have assemblers in the United States and we have an SOP that just defines the structure of how you put printers together.

And you kind of just, it's like building Legos. It's not too complicated. You just have a torque driver and then you assemble the thing. Following the instructions, so it's not too difficult. 

Peyton Shelton: Cool. And then these machines, they are, I mean, they're printing fast. They look awesome. I mean, obviously, you're using quality hardware.

I'm going to say that from a biased approach, if you're using Slice hardware, then I assume you're using awesome hardware all around. Who is this machine for? 

William of Wuxn: So, this machine is tailored for new people who are just getting into 3D printing. Designed to be an out-of-the-box solution. So, it comes fully assembled, you pull it out, plug it in, it calibrates itself, and then it's ready to go.

So, it's designed to print, and print, and print, and print reliably. And so, this is like a no fuss. There's no upgrade needed. We still designed it with the rep rap community in mind. So for those who still love to tinker and love to mod and do all that kind of stuff, it's a perfect unit because it's already the best of the best.

So instead of trying to get the functionality increased, now you're looking at, okay, how can I get creative and design something that either branch into like, make it look cooler and customizing it? And so we kind of. Took the step of like, Oh, I needed to have linear guide rails. And we like, well, we already got that.

So it's like, okay, now how do you just make it go faster, I guess? And so when we got the input shaper software with it, so people that want to push this kind of unit to the limit, it's like, this is the perfect machine for that. 

Peyton Shelton: Awesome. Cool. Is there anything else that you guys would like to say about Wuxn or your, you know, your machine or anything else before we wrap up our time here that you feel like we haven't talked about?

William of Wuxn: Yeah. So the Wuxn WXR we're selling at retail right now for 649. 99. Cool. And so the reason we're able to do this price point is because of all the support and the love that we received from the local community. So we just want everybody to know that you know, when we push this unit and we send these units out that, you know, once you buy one and you're part of our, our Wuxn community, it's like, yeah, our customers are always top priority.

Your satisfaction is of the utmost importance and here at the Wuxn team, like we're to serve. So if you've got problems, you've got issues, you've got questions, it's like we are the go-to for helping you get those solved. And apart from that, it's like, we just wanted to thank everybody that has supported us so far.

Peyton Shelton:

We look forward to bringing more people into our community we're excited that Slice Engineering is here and we're proud to have your guys as hotend in our unit. Awesome. Cool. And then if people want to find out more about the WXR or Wuxn, where can they find out more information? 

Isaac of Wuxn: Yeah. So if you guys want to learn more about us or the company just go to Wuxn3d.com and we'll answer any of your questions. 

Peyton Shelton: In the description, we'll include links to the Wuxn website and information about the printer as well. Thank you guys both for your time. Great thank you, guys. And we'll keep going around the show.

We didn't even begin to scratch the surface of all the awesome things happening here at the 2024 Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival. But we wanted to highlight three of our partners who are designing and assembling and manufacturing their printers here in the USA Because we think that that's super awesome We'll include links in the description below to all of these 3d printer manufacturers So you can learn more if you're interested in them in the description We've also got a link to a free guide that we've put together called seven things You should not do with your 3d printer In this guide, we've outlined the seven things you should not do and how to avoid them to make your 3D printing process better and more efficient to help save you time and money.

We've got another video coming out soon about the Rocky Mountain Reprap Festival our time in the Vision Miner booth and their awesome Nano Polymer adhesive. So like and subscribe to the channel if you're interested in seeing more content like that in the future. Thank you so much for watching, and don't forget to stay zesty.

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