Anyone that reads this site has probably heard of 3D printing, but the idea of printing fibers will be new to most. “The Bug” is a sort of composite fiber 3D printing machine. Instead of simply laying melted plastic (or other media) on top of itself, it lays fibers with a UV-cured resin on top of each other.
Naturally, an exotic process like this needed an exotic-looking extruding head. From the photo above, it looks reminiscent of an alien spacecraft shooting a laser beam down onto unsuspecting earthlings. It’s possible that I’m reading too much into it.
Regardless of how the extruder looks, the process is still in development. The original print tool path had to almost be generated by hand. With some development into this process to get the bugs (no pun intended) worked out, this could be a really amazing process. Carbon fiber or fiberglass parts could conceivably be made to order like “normal” 3D printed items.
You can see this fiber printer in action in the two videos below. The first shows the latest results, which are a huge improvement over what’s shown in the second video. Hopefully this process is able to mature and turn into a viable option for mainstream additive manufacturing!