3D printers to build data centres?

With many global brands such as Nike and Ford using 3D printing to help develop and make products such as football boots and brake pads, it is no surprise that tech industries are applying 3D printing to data centres.

An American company called ‘IO’ is currently using a 3D printer to prototype ‘data centre modules’ , according to Wired.

These are massively complex containers of computing equipment that can be pieced together, to form larger data centres. Similar to other brands IO can shape, test and reshape with ease,

“It allows us to have a much more agile — and fast — process,” says Andreas Zoll, IO’s vice president of engineering.

The idea of a modular data center took root at Google about a decade ago. These are basically shipping containers pre-packed with all the necessary computing, electrical, and cooling equipment, all configured to operate in harmony.

Whether by train, boat or truck, Google could move these containers to locations around world and then piece them back together. It was a way of both streamlining the construction of these facilities and improving their efficiency once they were up and running.

In the following years, others have taken a similar approach to data centre design. Microsoft has adopted data center modules in the facilities driving its web services.

In the past, as the company designed its modules, IO had no choice but to call on outside parts makers and manufacturers when it wanted to handle a physical prototype.

In recent months, it has started using a Makerbot 3-D printer to speed the process. Now, says vice president of engineering Zoll, it can prototype that light bracket in a couple of hours — “basically, over lunch time”.

“The beauty of the technology is that it takes the design of potentially complex objects — and the creation of these objects — and moves this away from specialized organizations, putting it into the hands of companies like ours, and individual people as well,” Zoll says.

It is worth noting that these are not full-size prototypes. IO’s data centre modules are room-sized contraptions, and prototyping them in full would require an enormous printer. But Zoll can produce smaller models that mirror their basic design.

In the future, 3-D printing could be used to build not just prototypes but actual data centre equipment.

“You can print things on a small scale to play with them. Architects do this all the time,” says Berok Khoshnevis, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Southern California who specializes in 3-D printing.

“But building a complete container would be a stupid thing to do. 3-D can’t give you the kind of quality that competing technologies give you.” Indeed, IO is only beginning to explore the possibilities of 3-D printing as a prototyping tool.

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FlashForge 3d Printer New Model: Creator X, Metal Frame Structure with Optimized Build Platform, Dual Extruder W/2 Spools, Works with ABS and PLA

FlashForge Creator X is developed based on wooden frame version Creator. Compared to Creator, Creator X has four main improvements:

1. The new metal frame is sturdier and more stable than the previous wood frame.

2. The build platform is optimized. It uses high temperature resistant aluminum plate with the thickness of 6.3 mm and guarantees a level platform. It doesn’t warp during the heating process.

3. The LED light, a new addition, lights up the printing area nicely.

4. Corner fittings are added to secure the Y transmission axis , which not only make it easier for installation, but also help to keep the axis straight.

Package Contains:

-The Creator X

-Dual Extruder

-2x Spool Holders

-1 ABS spool and 1 PLA spool(N.W.:1 kilogram per spool, color randomly selected)

-2x filament guide tubes

-Bolts and Hex Wrench Kit in accessories bag

-Power Supply Cable

-USB cable

-1×4GB SD card(contains software, test sample files and operation manual)

Technical specifications:


· Overall dimensions: 320 x 467 x 381 mm

· Packing dimension: 580 x 450 x 550 mm


· FLashforge MightyBoard single-piece motherboard

· 5 axis, 1/16 micro-stepping motor control

· 4×20 LCD character display and multi-direction control pad

· Universal Power Supply: 100-240V, 50/60Hz

Software: ReplicatorG

· Compatibility: Windows, OSX and, Linux

· Print from SD card or over USB

· Input file type: STL, gcode,x3g


Build envelope: 225 x 145 x 150 mm

Build volume: About 5 liters

Layer thickness: 0.1-0.3 mm(adjustable)

Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm


· Works well with 1.75 mm ABS,PLA

Product Features

  • Dual extruders which can work well with ABS, PLA filament.
  • Aviation level aluminum plate with a thickness of 6.3mm guarantee its surface is completely flat and will not warp during heating process.
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  • Corner fittings are added to secure the Y transmission axis , which not only make it easier for installation, but also help to keep the axis straight.

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Printrbot Assembled jr (v2) 3D Printer, ABS/PLA Filament, 1.75mm Ubis Hot End, 6″ x 6″ x6″ Build Volume

The Printrbot Jr. (v2) 3D printer comes fully assembled, has an open platform, a frame constructed of machined aluminum and laser-cut birch wood, and fabricates objects using ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PLA (polylactic acid) thermoplastic filament, with a vertical resolution of 100 microns (0.10 mm). The printer can build objects to maximum dimensions of 6 x 6 x 6 inches/150 x 150 x 150 mm (H x W x D). It comes with a direct drive extruder with a cooling fan, and an Ubis hot end that accepts 1.75 mm ABS or PLA filament. The printer is commanded through the provided micro USB cable using G-code numerical control instructions. An SD memory card slot can store G-Code instructions on a memory card (sold separately) for operation without a connection to a computer. It can be used with 3D printer management software packages (sold separately). The frame is made of laser-cut birch wood, and folds up for portability. The build platform heats to help provide thermal stability. Machined aluminum axis rods with linear bearings and injection molded gears help ensure precise movement. The size 17 stepper motors meet the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standard ICS 16-2001. The printer comes with a sample of PLA filament.


Printing materialABS or PLA
Vertical (Z-axis) resolution100 microns (0.10 mm)
Hot endUbis 1.75 mm
Nozzle diameter0.4 mm
Build speed80-100 mm/min
Build volume6 x 6 x 6 inches/150 x 150 x 150 mm (H x W x D)
Printer weight18.5 lb (8.39 kg)
Printer size18 x 14 x 14 inches (H x W x D)
Input formatG-code
Input methodMicro USB cable (included) or SD memory card (sold separately)

*H is height, the vertical distance from the lowest to highest point; W is width, the horizontal distance from left to right; D is depth, the horizontal distance from front to back.

3D printers fabricate physical objects directly from computer-aided-design (CAD) data sources. Objects created by additive manufacturing are built by dispensing successive thin layers of molten material onto a moving platform base from a robotic extruder nozzle. The material is most commonly a thermoplastic or HDPE (high-density polyethylene) filament.

Printrbot manufactures desktop 3D printers and accessories. The company is headquartered in Lincoln, CA.

What’s in the Box?
  • Printrbot Jr. (v2) 3D Printer
  • ATX Power Supply
  • Power tower
  • 12v 6A laptop style power supply
  • Power cord
  • USB cable
  • Sample spool of 1.75 mm PLA plastic filament

Product Features

  • Fabricates objects from G-code instructions using ABS or PLA thermoplastic filament
  • Open platform for ease of access with machined aluminum and laser-cut birch wood frame construction
  • Builds objects to maximum dimensions of 6 x 6 x 6 inches/150 x 150 x 150 mm (H x W x D)
  • Vertical (Z-axis) resolution of 100 microns (0.10 mm)
  • Folds up for portability

Click Here If You Need More Detailed Info…

Flashforge 3d Printer Build Platform Tape

Our FlashForge 3D printer tape is made in the USA and easy to install. No more worrying about PLA not sticking to the platform while you print. 6 inches wide (just like your build platform) so no seam either.. This tough tape is great for multiple prints, and easy to replace, and leaves no residue. A more affordable, cleaner, and easier option than Kapton tape.

180 feet of 3D printer tape, enough tape to cover your platform 90 times, that’s less than 35 cents per use, compare that with similar products at nearly $2 per sheet.

Product Features

  • Perfect for PLA
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  • 6 inches wide, No Seam, No Air Pockets on build platform
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