This is a brief blog post to get an idea into the public domain to prevent its being patented. I’ll probably work up more detail later.
Plastic extrusions are widespread: guttering, pipes, curtain rails and so on are all examples. A conventional 3D printer can make a short length of such shapes of course. But it should also be possible to remove the bed of a 3D printer and to run the printed shape out of the bottom between sets of rollers and print an arbitrarily long length of any shape. The rollers effectively become the machine’s Z axis.
The process would be slow, of course. But for the cost of one conventional extrusion machine you could buy a few hundred 3D printers, which collectively would be quite fast.
Unlike ordinary extrusion machines, the printers would be able to incorporate periodic features as well, such as, say, screw holes or projecting lugs every 100 millimetres.
To initiate a printed extrusion the machines might have a flat-ended square-section blank half a metre long. This would form the ‘bed’ on which the print started and would run through one set of rollers. Once the print was long enough other rollers above them would be deployed, positioned in a custom fashion to accommodate the particular profile being printed.
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