On my way to the Midwest RepRap Fest, I stopped in at HackPittsburgh to meet up with the BoXZY team and take a look at their new machine in person. BoXZY is doing well on Kickstarter; with its promise of being an all in one 3D printer, milling machine, and laser etcher, it’s enticing backers. The BoXZY features a thick aluminum case that creates a stiff structure to help support its milling function. All movements are achieved with precision ball screws instead of the belts often found in 3D printers. I expressed my concern about the exposed screws getting “gummed up” from the milling operation, but the team ensured me that through their testing they have not seen any contamination in their bearings from milled material, and that they are working on a system to help ensure this.
The biggest feature for the BoXZY, of course, is its interchangeable tool heads. Rather than a standard carriage, the BoXZY has a tubular tool holder that allows the multiple tool heads to be quickly removed and new ones locked into place. When announced, the BoXZY came with a 3D printing head, a router, and a blue ray laser. The success of the Kickstarter campaign has prompted the team to create stretch goals that include a new dual extruder tool, and the team has hinted at the possibility of others.
While many other “all in one” machines have failed due to either being 3D printers with added-to heads or large clunky behemoths, the BoXZY seems to have found a middle ground that will hopefully find its future owners fabricating their dreams.