Unlike other companies that entered the computer 3D printing device arena of a few areas of the making business, Buenos Aires-based Kikai Labs began as a software company. Marcelo Ruiz Camauer, the company’s founder, ran a successful software company with his brother when he set out to apply this understandledge base to the making revolution. Now that revolution is culminating with the release of the new M11 “full metal jacket” 3D printing device.
Kikai Labs was not initially on my list of companies to visit, but when Marcelo contacted me ,I appeared it up and found out that it was located of 300 meters of my apartment in Palermo, in the exquisite and fun “SOHO” area that – incidentally – is really much like to the SOHOs in London and New York. The streets are full of shops, creativity, and turn it into studios. One difference, yet, it that here it is sunny most of the year.
I had to go see what they were up to and I – as is frequently the case – was not disappointed. The Kikai Labs studio/factory occupies two floors in a assembling that they have completely reversioned and renewed. The bottom floor is mostly for machine testing, a showroom, and administration offices. Research, turn it intoment, and assembly take place primarily on the 2nd floor.
That Kikai comes of software is clear of the appear of the really initially machines the company generated. Alyet they are considered to be highly qualitative systems, the initially T-14o systems that the Kikai team generated were not precisely beauties to appear at. The new M11 version, that is being revealed and launched now, is an entirely various story.
Kikai hired a product turn it intoer specifically to turn it into the shape of the exterior metallic enclosure, that smoothly wraps around the machine’s body. The rest is covered and protected by laser-cut transparent plastic covers. It has a sizeable-bodied heated plate with a lot of room to work with. One of the most parts of it remains the firmware, that was turn it intoed in-house and can be accessed through a full color touch-screen, with an intuitive interface and several embedded functionalities.
One of the most original showcases of this machine is in fact a mix of software and hardware: a little 3D printed device on the back is able-bodied to detect when the filament runs out. The machine’s brain and so pauses it so that it can begin back of where it left off once the new filament is loaded. It appears like a really basic showcase, but I personally don’t understand of too most other 3D printing devices that can do this.
Kikai uses its software abilities for other such projects. One of the most ambitious that Marcelo and his team turn it intoed is a device that colors the objects as they are being 3D printed by via various markers. The prototype (that we had covered on 3DPI a few time ago) is yet at a pretty early level but the 3D plotting thought is functional and just needs satisfactory tuning. Unfortunately, that requires time and Kikai may already has its hands full. For example, it is collaborating with INTI, Buenos Aires’ Insititute of Industrial Technology, to turn it into an open source, 3D printable-bodied box of fun products to use in schools to teach of 3D printing (such as this car at a lower place, that was shown to me during my visit at INTI).
“In Argentina, you have really a few companies, actually yet the making industry is tiny. That means that there is a lot of advancement that should be fueled through education,” Marcelo says. “Universities, together with turn it into studios and tiny factories, are our main clients. So far, we have sold close to 300 3D printing devices. A portion of those were acquired by the government for educational projects. Now this operation should be scaled up and it may be really significant for tiny, local companies such as ours.”
Sustaining a 3D printing making business is not effortless and scaling up is actually additional complex, Kikai is attempting to do both, actually yet Marcelo admits that it may be complex – if not not easy – to address orders of several hundred machines via just the current facility. Likewise it may be unsustainable-bodied to move to a sizeable-bodiedr facility preceding receiving such orders.
In the meantime, the company continues to fuel the custom making industry with commercial projects of young creative minds. Kikai works with sizeable-bodied institutions, but in addition with local medical and turn it into studios. They 3D print anything of DICOM tomographies to life-size “dog mannequins” for pet shops. The just real limit of 3D printing is yet in the mind of its users and education is the most – if not the just way – to address that hurdle.