Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform allowing people to collect funds for the realization their ideas. People check out your idea and if they like it, they donate something to your cause or your project. With this kind of crowd-funding, many 3D printing projects have come up from all around the world. Below is a list of the best projects that are still available for order or purchase. Read on for more details on my hand picked, a personal favorite but short list fo KickStarter 3D printers.
RoVa4D – Canada
Object Replications and Design (ORD) is a Canadian tech that was started in 2013 through Kickstarter. With their 5-extruder, multi-material printing technology, the company decided to take a jump over every other solution in the market. The printer named RoVa4D is purchasable for the price of $4500 CAD (Canadian dollars). The printer’s build volume is 12x12x12 inches meaning the whole enclosure (ironic because it’s open) is 12.5” across all three dimensions.
On the left top, there are two extruders that make the structure while the right side holds the CMYKW extruders that allow printing in more than a single color within the same print job. The print resolution is 3.75microcs for X and Y, with 10microns for the Y-axis. It works with a host of materials including PLA, ABS, and HIPS etc.
Other products from the same company have single or double extruders but this project was definitely a leap above all the rest.
Tiko – Canada
Tiko is a single-body unit with a build volume at the bottom of 2.27 L. The maximum temperature the nozzle can handle is 250°c which is lower than what others can handle but is good enough for regular printing. The layer’s resolution is 50-250 microns with the spool chamber hosted right above the build housing. Moreover, Tiko allows non-proprietary filaments and can also be connected via Wi-Fi. The software included can be accessed using a web browser. All this for the meager price tag of USD 179. And that was the idea behind Tiko, to create a 3D printer that every household can afford.
ThingyBot – USA
Using Fused Disposition Modelling, the ThingyBot is an open source, yet fully assembled 3D printer. It was created with an open housing and an LCD on the top of the front. The build volume is 6x6x8” with an adjustable resolution between 50-300microns. It can print up 60microns per second using a standard or advanced extruder head. The filament spool is fed from over the top while being positioned on the back right above the power outlet.
Because the printer is an Open source, it can be used by professional printers and CAD hobbyists for customization of the device and the job, all the while being simple and straightforward enough for newbies and home users.
Slash – USA
The next generation of high-speed 3D printing and economical practicality have seemed to have met and given birth to Slash by Uniz Technologies. The printer uses LCD based SLA hence achieving a very fine printing speed and resolution, apart from a quite process. On top of that, because SLA or DLP techniques work with resins, the exothermic reaction releases energy essentially heating up the resin being solidified. This can create problems for large prints because that means the scaffolding is hollow or damaged.
To avoid this and get a superfast printing speed (how superfast, I’ll tell you later.) the Slash utilizes an exposure method in order to cool the resin while printing hence printing at up to a 1000cc/hour. For those of you, who are unaware of printing speeds, this is 1 liter of print volume in an hour which was previously only achievable with industrial grade machines.
The print resolution on this 2560 x 1600 with 339ppi. That’s not the usual way that the build resolution is defined so that basically translates to 75 microns on the XY and 10 microns on the Z-axis. The build volume comes down to 7.5 x 4.8 x 7.8 inches. The price starts from around USD 1000 and goes higher as with all Kickstarter projects for the additive features.
These and other printers around the world are crowdfunded projects. Like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo also has such projects. All such projects are not only motivational for people thinking about making a move into the industry but are a clear proof of the inspiration it brings to the market and to the lives of techie enthusiasts. Many of the world's future-concerned citizens and bodies have already declared their take on how the 3D printing phenomenon will bring about the third industrial revolution which all goes to say, get your hands on one of these baby’s before their price tags touch the sky.
The world’s smallest 3D printer is here. And for its own size, the prints are pretty sizeable. Created with the home users in mind, the iBox Nano, is claimed to be the most affordable resin printer around. The creators show off the devices capability with printed chess pieces here (which was a nice touch.). The printer comes with a battery enabled option which allows it to work without a direct power connection. On top of that, the projector used for printing is a production/commercial level LCD based UV projector.
Because of this techniques employment, the manufacturers claim that the printer makes virtually no noise, making it the world’s quietest printer, as printers with their print speeds can take a long time with larger prints. The XY resolution is 328 microns and the Y resolution is 0.39-100 microns. The technology being LCD with all the rest added makes the iBox Nano super affordable at around USD 300. The project aimed to achieve it’s USD 300,000 goal and surpassed it going up to almost USD 450,000 as every step of development lead to excellent reviews and an awesome 3D printer.
The build area is 40 x 20 x 90 microns while weighing only 1.1 kg. Its power consumption is the lowest that can be seen in the 3D printing arena and can be connected to with WiFi. The print software included is browser based, so no need for heavy technical resources, if your computer runs a browser, you’re all good to go. On the last note, for tech enthusiasts, the printer hosts a Raspberry Pi microcontroller while the projection mechanism was developed with the collaboration of BOSS Laser.