Seed of an IdeaIt started in Fall 2015, junior year of college. Hao and myself were roommates. We were both taking classes on design and manufacturing.
Before this, we had each used a 3d printer once or twice for some small projects. But we were never too impressed with what came out. You could get a tiny, flimsy, inaccurate part made in a couple of hours, while more complex prints could take days. Much hasn’t changed unless you’re willing to shell out over $5000.
Beast 3d PrinterTo correct this problem, we set out to build a fast, accurate 3d printer that costs under $1000. Built from a frame of 80⁄20 aluminum, aluminum connecting plates and mounts, and lead screw linear actuators, it could achieve 0.12 mm (0.005 in.) repeatable accuracy. It resembled a hobby CNC mill project more than a 3d printer.
We came to realize how tedious and time consuming it was to use a milling machine, especially for the dozens of simple plates and mounts in the 3d printer.
Modular BeastHoping to combine the benefits of each technology - 3d printing and CNC milling - Hao had the idea to build a modular machine that could do both by just swapping out the modules. We designed the machine in Spring 2017.
We soon learned that other products like BoXZY and Snapmaker already attempted to solve this problem. Snapmaker proved to be a very successful low cost option for a modular 3d printer, laser engraver, and mill. It resembles a hobby 3d printer more than a mill, and proves to be less functional as a mill for that reason.
Birth of BumbleBeastAt this point we thought, ‘Why don’t we build something with modularity, accessibility, and a desktop footprint - all of the things that make 3d printing great - but with the most functional milling capability as possible.’
That’s why we made BumbleBeast.