In 2016, PICASO 3D launched a line of X-series printers, which started with the release of the Designer X Pro dual-nozzle printer, and later a single-nozzle version of the first printer, Designer X. And in 2018 PICASO 3D decided to introduce the developments of the previous two models into large-scale printing, therefore the next serial printer was Designer XL, which we will talk about in more detail in this article.
Designer XL comes in a 760x680x1190mm box.
The printer comes with a standard set of accessories for the series: a pencil case with tools, a USB flash drive, a spare nozzle, a 1.8m power cord and a 250ml bottle of glue. As a material for test printing, the manufacturer offers a FormaX X-line 2kg spool – an engineering refractory plastic based on ABS with an admixture of carbon fiber.
The X axis is securely fixed with plastic straps, and a set of accessories is located under the table in a foam pad.
The dimensions of the printer are 650x590x1000mm, and the weight is an impressive 75kg. The Designer XL is made of composite aluminum and the doors are made of heat-resistant plastic, two of which are located on the front panel, the third on the cover of the case for access to the XY portal.
The photo shows Designer XL on a branded pedestal
Designer XL uses a control board of its own production based on a 32-bit ARM CORTEX M4 processor, the power of which will be enough both to solve the problems of the current printer functionality and for software extensions of new firmware versions
Printer kinematics – CoreXY, which uses two belts on two motors. With this system, the X-axis movement of the print head occurs when both motors rotate in the same direction. When the motors rotate in different directions, the head moves only along the Y axis. And when only one motor rotates, the head moves diagonally. This system allows you to print at high speeds due to its lightweight design. there is no motor on the X-axis. Designer XL is shipped from the factory with sufficiently tight belt tension that the printer does not have tensioners for additional adjustment. The XY axes use steel rail guides.
But it is worth noting that PICASO 3D engineers have significantly modified the standard CoreXY kinematics: the XY portal and the Z axis with the table are fixed on a steel frame, and the printer body creates additional structural rigidity. Given the Designer XL form factor, the standard Z-axis screw and two cylindrical rails are not enough for the printer to function correctly, so four ball screws located in the corners of the frame are responsible for table movement, each of which comes with a separate stepper motor, cylindrical shaft and encoder for table auto-calibration.
Designer XL uses a Direct extruder – a feeder motor is installed in the print head, allowing for fast retract printing. The feeder is equipped with two gears to ensure that the flexible Flex is fed evenly. Also, a Flow Control encoder is built into the printhead, which allows you to track several types of possible malfunctions at once: nozzle clogging, tangled material, uneven diameter and bar breakage. Designer XL comes with a 0.5mm nozzle, but it can be replaced with 0.2-0.8mm nozzles if needed.
The hot end of the printer is equipped with a 400th heating block with an all-metal thermal barrier, which maintains heating up to 410 0 . Therefore, Designer XL can print not only with common materials ABS, PLA, PVA, HIPS, but also with super-melting engineering plastics SBS, AEROTEX, FORMAX, ULTRAN and PEEK.
Printer build area: 360x360x610mm. The table also corresponds to the modes of operation with engineering plastics and supports heating up to 150 0 . As in the previous models of the series, a magnetic fastening of the glass plate of the table is used, which allows you to remove the printed model together with the plate, and then separate.
The side panels of the printer have filament holder doors that also use magnetic mounts.
Another innovation of Designer XL is the presence of a tray, where waste accumulates after cleaning the nozzle.
Designer XL is equipped with a monochrome display with an encoder. The printer menu is divided into the usual tabs: printing, filament loading / unloading, table and nozzle heating, calibration, etc. But there are also many unique features from PICASO 3D: encoder calibration, automatic print head cleaning mode, drying the filament spool on the table, night printing mode.
Slicer Polygon X
PICASO 3D printers work with the proprietary Polygon X slicer, which comes with a USB stick.
Polygon X has a simple design, which is divided into 3 conditional tabs: “New Job”, “View Job” and “Monitoring”.
In the “New Job” tab, we can place, rotate and scale the model using the toolbar on the right.
After installing the model, click on “Job settings”, a menu with 3 settings modes will appear: “Basic”, “Advanced” and “Professional”. These modes are aimed at users with different skill levels. Basic mode is provided with tips and a minimal set of controllers, while Advanced and Professional modes have a more complex system of settings.
After confirming the slicing settings, the Job Preview window opens, where the print settings are displayed, and the model is displayed in layers. Here, the program offers to save the sliced model in .plgx format to a USB flash drive or add it to the Polygon X database, from which you can send a print job via a LAN connection.
The third tab “Monitoring” displays information about the status of the printer and print readiness. The Polygon X ecosystem supports parallel network connections, which allows multiple PICASO 3D printers to be combined into a full-fledged industrial park and remotely monitored.
The main advantage of the first two models of the series was the ability to print with engineering refractory plastics in the budget segment of printers, which, together with the Polygon X ecosystem, made it possible to organize an industrial park. Designer X Pro and Designer X have found applications in many areas of manufacturing, but design constraints have prevented the full potential of the X platform in large-scale manufacturing. The Designer XL solves this problem, and now all the functions of the single nozzle version of Designer X are available for printing large functional parts in the fields of mechanical engineering, instrumentation, aircraft construction, robotics, and more.