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Sheet-fed Plywood printer

Stack up your 4x8 sheets and press print
  [vote for,

Full props to the brilliant Plywood Printer. This printer uses 4x8' sheets of building material- melamine, plywood, gyprock, whatever.

The sheetfeeder uses go-kart rubber wheels to grab the sheet, load it onto a large rubber coated cylinder, which feeds the sheet under a scanning printhead (or 2). The pieces stack up on the other side (not perfectly aligned, but in order). Packing peanuts or evaporating expanding foam is dispensed into cut gaps as the sheet leaves the printer, to hold small pieces in place just long enough to stack them. This let you print large jobs overnight unattended.

It prints like an inkjet- 4 airbrush/spraypaint-can heads for cmyk color, plus a head or 3 for custom coatings (eg clear, metallic gold), plus a cutting head: router / laser. However, unlike most, this device is strictly raster. The router head simply scans across the sheet, cutting a hole (whose size is the max resolution - say 2mm square) wherever a pixel is black. Vector only seems intuitive to geeks like us, but vector forces the user to consider tedious detail like cutting tool widths. This is a sketching tool, not a precision instrument.

It aint small, say 4 x 10 feet i picture the sheetfeeder as stacking slanted sheets of plywood vertically. Not quite sure how it feeds..confident there's a way.

Of course one can put plywood on a CNc machine, but you've got to know what you're doing, to get an arbitrarily huge 3D form out of it.

Oh, and it must be cheap (say $2000 max) and plug in USB - just a scaled-up inkjet printer with a cutting head.

white, Apr 13 2011

ShopBot http://www.shopbott...cts/prSstandard.htm
CNC router [MechE, Jun 10 2012]


       I don't get this.   

       The first two paragraphs suggest that it's a printer capable of printing on 8x4 sheets - fine. But then what's this "router/laser" for?   

       And how do you print with a jigsaw?   

       And how do you make furniture?
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 13 2011

       It seems [white] wants to combine a flatbed printer (baked) with a simple 2D cutter (baked) for less than $2000 (unlikely). Result - plywood beautifully painted and cut into curvy shapes, all on the one machine.   

       Surely the cutting will have to be vector rather than raster. Flatbed printers are already raster (otherwise they'd be plotters).   

       Friends of mine have a flatbed printer; it can print on virtually anything vaguely flat, from paper to t-shirts, and can be loaded with a range of liquids, maybe including paint. It would do just what you want, but I think they start at many thousands of dollars.   

       You then need to add the cutting part, which I imagine would be a separate unit. The printer and cutter could lurk at opposite ends of the bed until needed.
spidermother, Apr 14 2011

       googling for "software 'plank cutting'" popped up a multitude of efficencyizers for arranging the cuts most efficiently.
FlyingToaster, Apr 14 2011

       Dammit, where are my royalties?
not_morrison_rm, Apr 14 2011

       not_morrison_rm, did you have this idea already? link me up!
white, Jun 08 2012

       Key points missed: 1. Image source MUST be raster. It's the only way to get "one click print" for any image, and to use intuitive creation tools. Vector only seems intuitive to geeks like us, but vector forces the user to consider tedious detail like cutting tool widths. 2. It's not a flatbed printer - that'd be too big. It uses a large cylinder, like an inkjet printer. It's sheet-fed, so one can near-automatically print large, arbitrary 3D forms (4 foot x 8 foot x N miles) using the layer-by-layer approach that works so well for 3D plastic printers.   

       Can we explore why $2000 is unlikely? What's the expensive bit?   

       ponoko is obviously awesome, and proves the tech is ready. but for large objects, shipping is a huge expense. I want just want a cheap one in my shed.   

       Thanks yall for pointing your big brains on this.
white, Jun 08 2012

       If one had the color "acid" perhaps represented by some pattern on the original image, one could create depth and texture in the wood by simple application of sulphuric acid in varying amounts. This would save money in obviating the need for the router and sharp bits.
bungston, Jun 08 2012

       "acid" - oh hell yes!! That's awesome. one must ensure the acid amount is perfect, so it doesn't soak through and burn the layers underneath. absorbtion amount will vary by material...which eqruies the user to know something about their material... but hey, it's acid. that's so cool. (acid is a lovely solution - i had thought of using acid from an inkjet for a "normal" paper printer but had somehow not thought of it for this idea)
white, Jun 08 2012

       No, if only you had a silver cutting head, and a garlic/holy water cooling fluid..
not_morrison_rm, Jun 10 2012

       See my link for a relatively low cost (but industrial quality) 2 axis CNC router. You can knock a couple of grand off if you go with a cutting head that can only handle wood, and maybe few hundred if you get rid of any Z-axis capability beyond a simple two position version. This ignores the sheet feeder. The infeed isn't difficult, and probably only runs a thousand or so, maybe a bit less in quantity. The outfeed will run a bit more, and that ignores your proposed foaming system, since there are better ways to do that.
MechE, Jun 10 2012

       Oh, and acid won't make neat cuts on wood. See, there's this funny thing where enough acid to eat through a piece of plywood would flow outward along it. You would also have a large amount of acid slurry which would be considered hazardous waste (even if neutralized) which would cost more than the router head in a fairly short time.
MechE, Jun 10 2012


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