Our ‘E3D meets…’ blog series shines a light on some of the biggest 3D printing community champions, and then takes a peek inside their workshop. We love workshops!
This time we’re talking to Zach Burhop. Let’s see what he has to say.
It's Zach Burhop!
Hi Zach! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! I’m Zach. I live in Austin, Texas and I’m interested in engineering, prototyping, industrial design, CNC, and of course – 3D printing!
I like to describe myself as an additive manufacturing fanatic with an eye on the future. By day I work at Essentium, where I do a lot of 3D printing as an application engineer. Outside of work, I’m usually exploring the possibilities of 3D printing and other manufacturing technologies in my lab.
Everyone in this field usually has a story about how they discovered 3D printing. What’s yours?
When I was at university, we had a small professional machine, and we could pay to have stuff 3D printed. The problem was nobody really got to use it – it was kept locked away and was only operated by our professors!
When I finished design school in 2011, I took some graduation gift money and bought my own 3D printer – a Solidoodle Pro. It was handmade in Brooklyn, NYC, and cost about 1500 USD. It was an amazing machine and it solidified (haha) my love of 3D printing.
How about the first E3D product you ever bought?
In about 2014, after a couple of years working with my Solidoodle it became obvious the HotEnd had to go. It used a Delrin interface and the nozzles weren’t replaceable. The nozzle was insulated with Kapton tape and fiberglass cloth. A friend told me about the newly-released E3D V6, and I bought one that day and started 3D printing all the new mounting parts.
Nice! Is the V6 your favourite E3D product?
My favourite is probably the E3D ToolChanger. The ability to use so many different materials and add other types of tools like CNC routers is simply amazing and drives the capabilities of FDM forward.
Aside from that, I’d say that my Hemera extruder was a big game changer for me. I’m a big fan of flexible materials, so being able to 3D print them fast without material slipping out of the filament path has been amazing.
What would you like E3D to make next – and why?
I’m pumped about Revo right now. I think quick swap hardware is really important to optimising your machine for specific 3D prints. The released nozzles are a good first step, but I want to see Revo Nozzles designed for abrasive materials, and really large diameter nozzles like a 1.2mm. I’d love it if a Volcano Revo Nozzle ever made it out!
You’re in for a treat Zach, because some of those things are on our roadmap and expected soon™ in 2022!
Learn all about the E3D Revo™ ecosystem in our Tech Deep Dive!
Your lab looks like a great creative space. Can you tell us about the machines you have in there currently?
Thanks! I designed my lab to be a capable workspace with a small footprint. It’s an experiment in what can be done in a small urban environment with a little space and a lot of design thinking. I have a variety of machines outfitted for different types of fabrication.
Any noteworthy machine upgrades to share?
Of course! I’ll give you the list…
Creality Ender 3. This highly modified machine is fitted with an E3D Hemera extrusion system. I’m in the process of fitting a Revo Hemera upgrade kit so I’ll be able to easily swap nozzles and optimise the machine for the parts I’m 3D printing, which I’m excited about!
The machine is well calibrated, and I regularly use it to print high resolution parts, especially with flexible materials – the Hemera is great for flexible filaments because of its dual filament drive and constrained filament path.
Adimlab Gantry. A few years back I designed a lamp with a Voronoi lattice. It was a difficult print that took multiple days due to its size, so I built this large format 3D printer to experiment with large, fast prints and large layer heights. My Adimlab Gantry is based on a Creality CR-10, but it has a much larger build area. I’ve fitted a Volcano HotEnd with a 1.2mm nozzle so it can 3D print thick lines, which shaves a lot of time of the print duration compared to standard nozzle sizes, which are many times smaller.
Tenlog Hands 2 IDEX. I’ve got a desktop IDEX machine, which has two independent extruders. It can print two parts at the exact same time in ‘copy mode’, or it can be used to print two materials simultaneously. Often people use it to print a support material like PVA. Recently printed a GoPro handle that used PLA for all the structural parts, but used TPU to create a soft handle. I’m working now on taking that idea to the next level and experimenting with more engineering-grade materials like Nylon, carbon fibre, and polypropylene filaments. Someday I’d love to have an E3D ToolChanger so that I can truly take my multi material projects to the next level.
I have lots of other machines, too. I’m a big believer that 3D printing is an amazing tool to have available, but there are also some other great tools. I have a Shapeoko 3 CNC router that I use for making aluminium parts, and a CNC lathe for round metallic parts. I love my laser cutter, too; I imported it from China and completely rebuilt it to have better electronics and a bigger bed for larger parts!
"I’m pumped about Revo right now. I think quick swap hardware is really important to optimising your machine for specific 3D prints."
With access to all that gear, you’ve probably made some pretty complex things, right?
One of the most complex things I 3D printed last year was a flame thrower. I wanted something fun and exciting I could show people that visited my lab. It was designed to look like an alien toy from the 1960s and used lots of parts that were all big and had to interface well together. I had to overcome a lot of small design challenges, but the result was a fun design which people loved to use.
One of my other interests is computational and generative design. These techniques allow the computer to take a larger hand in the design process, often resulting in parts that depend heavily on lattice structures and topology optimisation. Getting these parts to work in the FDM process is very difficult. I designed a series of light duty screwdrivers using these processes and I’m proud of how they turned out.
Zach Burhop's 3D printed flamethrower!
"My Hemera extruder was a big game changer for me. I’m a big fan of flexible materials, so being able to 3D print them fast without material slipping out of the filament path has been amazing."
OG E3D Hemera!
You can see what else Zach is up to on his YouTube channel.