Design Engine
Training Classes/Tutorials for Designers, Engineers, & 3D Professionals


Ideas, Thoughts, Perspectives

March 30th, 2016

Autodesk’s Multi-Head 3D Printer Can Print Larger Objects in Less Time


As advanced as 3D printing technology has become, most printers can only print small objects very slowly. For larger projects,  3D printers first print smaller parts and assemble these parts into larger objects later. Autodesk’s Project Escher is revolutionizing 3D printing technology by allowing users to 3D print larger items much quicker than ever before.

Autodesk first wants to emphasize, “Just to be clear, Autodesk is not releasing a new 3D printer. Project Escher is software and control technology that can work with a new generation of 3D printing hardware.” Project Escher is essentially an assembly line of 3D printers that have multiple heads working on a project simultaneously – allowing the project to be done much more quickly without compromising quality. The developers behind the project explained that, “Project Escher is a parallel processing system where numerous independent tools collaborate to fabricate a design. It’s faster because whatever the job is, there are more workers on that job. And there is no compromise to detail because we’re using proven existing technology.”

You can 3D print just about anything these days but it always comes down to an issue of time, especially for large objects. Autodesk’s Corey Bloome explained, “3-D printing is measured in ounces per hour, so if you need to print a 100-pound object and can only do an ounce an hour, well, you do the math.” – That’s almost 67 days. A single 3D printer has the disadvantage of having only one tool head working on part of an object. Project Escher can essentially have an unlimited number of individual 3-D printing “bots” working together continuously to create one object. This assembly line of 3D printers features a smart setup controller and interchangeable tool heads. Autodesk hopes to eventually make the tool head changing automatic and integrate additional technologies, such as laser cutting, into the printer as well.

Project Escher can have an endless amount of 3D print heads to create larger objects. Image via Project Escher

Project Escher can have an endless amount of 3D print heads to create larger objects.
Image via Project Escher

Image via Project Escher

Image via Project Escher

Image via Project Escher

Image via Project Escher

This is one 3D printer that isn’t suggested for people who see 3D printing as a hobby. Autodesk is specifically targeting industries that need to 3D print large objects faster. Kimberley Losey, Project Escher’s product marketing lead explained, “If you’re in aerospace, automotive, or construction, no one has 100 hours to print out just one thing. At that scale, there’s just tons of constraints for conventional additive manufacturing. So we thought, how can we solve that problem?”

While the project is a brilliant idea, Project Escher’s next step is to actually get companies using it and see how this 3D printing will perform in the real-world manufacturing environment.


Article Written by Mila Medonaite for Design Engine for March 30, 2016

About the Author


Design Engine Industrial Design Training Pro Engineer


BMW’s Futuristic Self-Balancing Motorcycle Doesn’t Require Any Protective Gear

BMW imagines a future where mobility is connected and adaptable to the environment. As part of BMW’s year-long centennial celebration, the company revealed Motorrad, the motorcycle of the future that relies on self-balancing ...
by Design-Engine


Navdy Heads-Up Display Lets You Text and Drive Safely

While we know we shouldn’t, many of us still glance at our smartphones while driving and oftentimes get easily distracted. One company plans to change how we interact with our connected devices. Navdy, the name of the company...
by Design-Engine


Lego: A Company to Follow in Their Footprint

une 2015 Lego announces their intention to go 100 percent sustainable by 2030.  A year later Lego is building their Sustainable Materials Center in Billun, Denmark, investing 125 million USD, and is in the process of hiring 10...
by Design-Engine



Gravity Sketch Allows Designers to Create and Manipulate Sketches in Midair

  Gravity Sketch is a virtual reality software that allows designers to design 3D models while waving their hands in midair. This software allows for co-creation among several users and lets users edit objects in virtual r...
by Design-Engine

Edible Flatware

Five Steps to Using Sustainability Data in Design

How and why of using environmental impact data in design Have any of these innovative ideas for products with a strong ‘sustainability’ story crossed your desk lately?  Edible cutlery becoming mainstream just as ...
by Design-Engine



Be the first to comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.