About the Exhibit
The automated print farm Prusa Pro AFS with 34 new Original Prusa printers has been introduced at the Dubai EXPO, as a part of the exhibit “The Future of Manufacturing by Prusa 3D”. Using touchscreen tablets, visitors can select and generate unique snowflake designs, which are then printed from fluorescent plastic. Produced snowflakes can be added to a dynamically growing sculpture that is part of the exhibit.
The endless variations of snowflakes are very illustrative of the advantages of 3D printing: no matter how complex and unique the model is, its production can start immediately. There are no extra costs and complications, for example with mold manufacturing. The print farm makes local manufacturing easily possible. Compared to machine milling, there is less waste and there are plans for using recycled material in the near future.
This is a leap forward both on the hardware and software levels. The printers are different from the regular production models. Their design and construction allow for placement into a special rig (with hot-swapping capabilities), featuring mechanisms for automatic collection and dispensing of the finished 3D prints. In-house developed software manages the whole farm, with smart algorithms for assigning print tasks, monitoring all ongoing processes, and collecting data. All the user has to do is select a print using the touchscreen tablet and then wait for the finished print to be dispensed.
Prusa Research is a company that develops and manufactures 3D printers directly in its headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. The company runs an internal print farm, with 600 printers running simultaneously, manufacturing parts for new 3D printers. The main advantage of this method is that new or updated part designs can be put immediately into production with no extra steps or delays. While this farm is managed by a team of operators, the newly introduced Prusa Pro AFS is fully autonomous and requires very little maintenance.
“We run the biggest 3D printing farm in the world, therefore we have the experience to draw on when designing the ideal workflow. Our priority was to make the operation as easy as possible”, says Josef Prusa, CEO of Prusa Research. “The farm we are introducing in Dubai is going to be available commercially. We already have customers that run dozens of our 3D printers at once, either for prototyping or small-batch manufacturing. These are going to be our target users. We want to offer them a print farm with a streamlined operation and trouble-free maintenance.”