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Piranha Fx, an all-in-one 3D printer/CNC/laser engraver launches on Kickstarter

Date:2016-12-14 Hits:3180

Piranha Fx, an all-in-one 3D printer/CNC/laser engraver launches on Kickstarter

While a conveniently-sized desktop FDM printer is great for toying with at home, it is a quite limited machine for serious and multi-material manufacturing. While anyone wanting to take things to the next level is currently faced with the expensive option of buying industrial level machines, such as laser cutters, all that could change in the near future. For a very interesting multi-purpose machine has just launched on Kickstarter that keeps all the size advantages of a desktop FDM 3D printer, while also functioning as a handy CNC mill and a laser engraver.

It’s called the CNC Piranha Fx, and its catchphrase – Make Anything – basically covers everything. It’s a machine that combines various functions while being a viable option for both hobbyists and small businesses. As creator Tim Owens summarizes, ‘It will be the only machine available that can carve, laser engrave or 3D print – no other machine can do ALL of these things!’

This interesting machine has been built by the small developer of woodworking machinery Next Wave Automation, based in Ohio. As Owens explains, it has been developed as a high-level CNC machine for consumers, but has since grown to be the frontrunner of a new generations of machines. While many promising ideas on Kickstarter are just that, the Piranha is reportedly already fully prototyped, and simply needs Kickstarter backing to take it into production. To do so, Owns and his team are looking to raise $75,000 by 1 April 2015, which will enable them to start shipping within just three months or so.

The CNC function working with aluminum.

A leather map made with the laser-engraving function.

And it would not at all surprise me if they become successful, because the all-in-one Piranha truly looks all in one. It’s a touch-screen based, plug-and play machine that includes three basic options: carving, laser engraving and 3D printing. And all of these options look good. ‘Whether you want to carve in wood, aluminum, soft metal or plastic, Piranha Fx can handle it all. Though easy enough for a novice, Piranha Fx is also a very serious CNC! You will not outgrow the Piranha Fx and because it uses a standard router, the possibilities and flexibility are virtually endless,’ Owens writes in regard to its CNC function.

The CNC function in action.

That is, as Owens runs a CNC machine manufacturing company, hardly surprising, but its other functions look very well designed as well. Its laser engraving system can be applied to just about any surface, including paper, wood, plastic and fabric, while also featuring a raster function (that will allow you to load in an image or actual photograph and have it engraved onto a number of surfaces.

The engraving function.

But to us, it’s obviously all about the 3D printer. In a nutshell, it looks like the Piranha features a typical FDM desktop 3D printing function. Unusually, it runs on the same Vectric software package used for the machine’s other two manufacturing functions, but contains little other surprises.

Watch Owens talk about his machine’s 3D printing function.

Instead, it's the optional add-on that would really make this machine interesting to 3D printing enthusiasts. For the Piranha Fx can also be outfitted with the ‘3D Digitizer’, which is especially a handhald 3D scanner. ‘Piranha‘s digitizer is also perfect for hand-made objects you might want to mass produce. Want to recreate a hard to source part? Want to copy a game piece? Piranha Fx can do it all.’ It is also an excellent choice for quickly and easily making 3D printed replicas of objects you already have in another material. As you can see below, it can even be used to copy very intricate designs, such as an American Eagle relief.

All in all, the Piranha Fx is a very interesting multi-purpose machine, that can definitely be seen as a next-generation manufacturing machine. And judging by its progress on Kickstarter, I do expect it will easily reach its Kickstarter goal of $75,000 – at the time of writing, they’ve already gathered half of that amount with still more than a month to go.

Obviously, pledging enough money will entitle you to an actual Piranha Fx machine; $1,999 is enough for a basic model capable of CNC cutting, laser engraving and 3D printing. For the full package, including 3D scanner, you’ll need to pledge at least $2899, but both sums are quite fair considering the many functions the Piranha brings to the table (while saving all that desktop space). For more, visit Owen’s Kickstarter page here