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The company Q.big 3D – “Q.big” pronounced as in “cubic” – from Aalen in Baden-Württemberg has developed a large-capacity plastic printer designed to produce prototypes. The diameter of the device’s nozzles can be varied during the printing, and the resolution adapts to the respective component. Components are printed at low resolution and high speed on the inside, while the nozzle is accordingly narrowed for fine structures and on the component’s surface. This approach considerably reduces printing time; the 3D printer can print a 7 kg component with a surface resolution of 0.5 mm in 15 hours. Rather than using expensive filament as a material, the device uses simple standard granulates, such as polylactides (PLA), making it particularly cost-efficient. The printer currently has overall dimensions of 1 x 0.5 x 0.35 m (L x W x H) and these will be increased to 1.5 x 1.0 x 1.0 m in the near future. The surface finish allows layer sizes from 0.3 to 1.5 mm.

Q.big 3D is a startup founded by three students from Aalen University. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and the European Social Fund as part of the EXIST program .