SAN FRANCISCO—A new 3D printer developed by Gantri, a manufacturer of direct-to-consumer designer lights, could help set the stage for just-in-time manufacturing of consumer goods. According to the manufacturer, its Gantri Dancer™ is the first commercial, multi-gantry cylindrical 3D printer. The patent-pending, fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer uses four gantries and a rotating, circular build plate to print up to four times faster than best-in-class desktop 3D printers while maintaining a high standard of product quality, the company said in a press release.
“Gantri’s mission is to empower designers to create by using advanced technologies,” said Christianna Taylor, Ph.D., CTO at Gantri. “Our goal is to push for the adoption of digital manufacturing as a viable alternative to today’s industrial manufacturing system in producing high-quality consumer grade products. Dancer is the first 3D printer in the world specifically designed to manufacture consumer-grade products at the quality and speed that Gantri requires.”
The custom-engineered 3D printer is different in various ways, according to Gantri, beginning with its coordinated multi-gantry system. Using a rotating circular build plate, all four gantries can work together concurrently to print a single part. As a result, there is no “dead zone,” or void, in the middle, and it can print the same part using only a quarter of the time. The printer also features automatic 3D model translation. Gantri developed a unique translation algorithm that converts current modeling systems into Dancer’s coordinated multi-gantry system with no additional input from the user.
The printer itself is made using 3D printing. Dancer is made and assembled by Gantri in California, and 60 percent of its parts are reportedly 3D printed. It uses sustainable materials—specifically, Gantri’s exclusive corn-based PLA, which requires consistently high-temperature output to facilitate kneading. It also features a custom-designed casing: An aerospace-grade aluminum frame and polycarbonate panels offer a light, sturdy body that minimizes vibration and is quick to assemble, the company said.
Gantri is planning to begin migrating its entire printer fleet to Dancer at the Gantri Factory in San Leandro, California, in November. The company estimates that the average “made for you” production lead time will decrease from about four weeks currently to two weeks.
“Dancer is an amazing innovation. It combines advanced hardware, software, and industrial engineering to make fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing drastically more efficient,” Taylor added. “In addition, we are investing in advanced robotics and AI to further improve our manufacturing platform from start to finish. This will allow us to diversify materials and categories for our designers and customers.”
Gantri (www.gantri.com), founded in San Francisco, offers what it calls a new generation of lights that are created by leading global designers and sustainably made using proprietary 3D printing at the Gantri Factory. Through innovative design and manufacturing technologies, Gantri aims to give designers the freedom to bring their unique ideas to life. Its goal is to make “great design radically more accessible, affordable, and sustainable.”