Has any one ever thought of turning a 3D printer on it's side,

Has any one ever thought of turning a 3D printer on it’s side, making a heated build “tube” and turning a 3D printer into a 3D extruder?

OK. A MakerBot on its side with the bottom cut out. The build plate moves horizontally along more of a conveyor belt, until the thing being extruded is large enough that the plate can be removed and a continuous object can be printed. I’m basically trying to remove one limiting dimension in the build process. I’m thinking it might work best with a sintering printer instead of plastic extrusion?

What would be the advantage?

just thinking ahead. here’s what I imagine: A multilaser aluminum sintering printer that is hot and fast enough to churn out custom profiled aluminum rails, t-tracks, etc; things that are traditionally pressure extruded now, with nothing more than a profile, openrail style, at usable lengths. Custom aluminum extrusion is kinda pricey.

I did give this some thought, my idea was to use what they call a mandrel in lathe work.

Imagine a printer that has no limit on it’s vertical print direction.

The printer would be designed so that it would climb up the object that it was printing.

The cross section could be continuous and the same or it could vary.

The mandrel gives you a start, it represents the unprinted portion of the object the portion that the printer starts its vertical journey climbing.

Voxejet from Augsburg, Germany has patented the continuous printing process and is selling a continuous inkjet printer, the VXC800: http://www.voxeljet.de/en/systems/3d-druckervxc800/

That’s an approach I hadn’t considered. Pretty neat.