Mar. 31, 2015 | By Simon
Although we’ve been hearing about new 3D printers coming out on a seemingly weekly basis over the past few years, very little has dramatically changed in terms of cost or speed. Of course, a rise in desktop 3D printers that strip away bells and whistles in favor of a smaller desktop footprint and simplified FDM 3D printing have helped bring down the cost of entry for new users, the technology as a whole hasn’t changed much since the original 3D printing revolution took off around the time MakerBot and FormLabs hit the scene.
While we’re not even into the fourth month of 2015, we’ve already seen two wildly impressive 3d printers that are increasingly looking to be what the near future of 3D printing looks like: high quality prints at near-lightning fast speeds at cost that is obtainable for serious 3D printer users.
First, we saw the announcement of Carbon3D and their DLP SLA 3D printing process, which was presented at the 2015 TED Conference in Vancouver by CEO Joseph DeSimone. The technology - which was claimed can speed up existing 3D printing times by 25 to 100 faster by using a new technology that Carbon3D is calling Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) - works by carefully balancing UV light and oxygen to grow objects from a pool of resin through a photo polymerization process.
Second - and only one week ago - we saw a new company from Australia called Gizmo3D presenting their own take on a similar process that, while we still don’t fully know their technology, is claimed to “play” the layers of a 3D print like an animation rather than breaking between frames similar to today’s existing SLA 3D printers. Gizmo3D is calling this process “Continuous Printing”.
Now, a Chinese company named Prismlab has come forward with yet another similar technology that they are claiming can rapidly speed up 3D print times thanks to their own unique approach - which the Chinese media is claiming can print 2,712 cubic centimeters in just a single hour.
The Shanghai-based company, which first announced that they would be releasing a new 3D printing technology in the form of the RAPID 400 3D printer back in October of 2014, has just announced that they will be releasing three separate 3D printer models that they’re claiming can print between 8-10 times faster than traditional SLA 3D printers that are currently available today.
The technology works similar to existing SLA 3D printers by using a projected light source to cure liquid resin. Thanks to a patent filed by the company that they are calling MFP Technology (Pixel Resolution Enhancement Technology), the printers are able to print objects up to 32.4cm x 57.6cm x 57.6cm using their ultra-fast printing process while still maintaining the same high resolution quality that we’ve come to expect from SLA 3D printers.
While the exact technological specifications are still up for debate based on different speculations from the Chinese media, it appears that the company is using a process that is very similar to those seen in both Carbon3D’s example as well as Gizmo3D’s - however Gizmo3D still appears to be the only company that is printing in rapid succession without a break between each layer. However, it is looking like Prismlab may be able to take the cake for using this technology with the largest build area.
In total, the three machines offered by Prismlab in their Rapid lineup of 3D printers include the Rapid 200, the Rapid 400 and the Rapid 600, respectfully.
Specificiations for the Rapid 3D Printer lineup include:
All Rapid 3D Printers:
Although each of these three companies certainly have something special, it will really come down to both who can come to market first as well as provide the best positive user experience met with cost. Additionally, some people may be fine waiting a few hours or overnight for a print rather than spending the additional money - so it will be interesting to see how all of these technologies develop over the rest of the year.
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