3D Printer

3D Printer Form 1 Gets 6X Its $100K Funding Goal On Kick starteràIn One Day!

3d printer

When Chester Carton  invented the printer in 1983, hardly did he know that he had started a revolution. Since then we’ve seen the evolution of printers from Daisy wheel printer to dot matrix and  then to inkjet printers. Carrying forward the legacy ahead, a Cambridge based company- Formlabs  has found a way to bring the highend performance of top notch machines down to the price of Makerbot.

 

Makerbot are one of the world’s leading manufacturers of an affordable, open source 3D printer. The company’s latest lauch, Replicator 2 has increased resolution, can print larger objects, and sports a stylish new look. The new printer is only one way MakerBot is making a serious bid to become a major competitor in the growing 3D printing market.

3d printer

Formlabsrecently unveiled the Form1, an affordable professional, state of the art 3D printer with a goal of reaching $100,000 in funding in one month.3D printed parts are only as good as the technology that made them. Stereolithography (SL) is the gold standard for 3D print resolution and surface finish. In this photopolymer-based process, a high precision system directs a laser across a tray of liquid resin and causes a thin layer to solidify. The build platform then rises in preparation for the next layer. After thousands of repetitions, your part is complete with exquisite detail. The managed to raise $660,000 and  earn 400 backers and counting.

How the Form 1 differentiates in the space.?

Basically, there are two groups of 3D printers, the high-end professional machines and the hobbyist machines. The high-end printers will costyou  anywhere between $10,000 and $1 million, whereas hobbyist machines will cost between $2,000 and $3,000. But it still doesn’t boastthe same high resolution output.The makers see Form 1 as the first 3D printer that takes affordability to the high-end, professional level.

To give you some idea, Makerbots start at $2,199, and the most basic Form 1 pledge you can make on Kickstarter is $2,299, and includes “the full Form 1 package including the printer, 1L resin, and Form Finish Kit. Clearly, Formlabs isn’t interested in any price cuts but then again, this isn’t another hobbyist 3D printer. They believeits competition lies with the professional machines, and in terms of those costs, the Form 1 is a steal and differentiates its from the crowd.

There were only 25 spaces for the basic Form 1 package, which sold out almost immediately.

The Form 1 uses Stereolithography to help makers product their designs. It’s considered the “gold standard” in 3D printing, using a high-precision positioning system to direct a laser onto a tray of liquid resin. This achieves “dramatically better resolution,” states formlabs.

But perhaps more important than the technology is the ecosystem around Form 1. The guys at FormLabs have created software that imports .STL models from any 3D CAD package, supporting structures for complex geometry. And after importing, it only takes a few clicks to get the machine fired up and printing.

This allows any designer or engineer, from the professionals at major corporations to the students around in SketchUp, to enjoy the same high-performance as big companies. FormLabs claims there are around 30,000 professional 3D printers installed around the world. However, approximately 10 million people actively use 3D CAD software. They simply aims to fill in the gap.

The most amazing part of this already-amazing story is the way that FormLabs was able to bring down the cost of the machine. Makers say it was thanks in large part to three different factors.

  • The first is that the team used a new kind of laser, specifically a 405nm Bluray laser diode. In the past, the lasers used to run these professional 3D printers have cost more than the machine itself. With this new type of laser that only recently came on the market, FormLabs was able to keep manufacturing (and thus market costs) down.
  • The second factor was the expiration of a few patents, meaning that the team didn’t need to pay high licensing fees to get this product to market.
  • Finally, and most importantly, FormLabs was able to look at all those high-end, $10k+ machines, and essentially decide what was necessary.

“Most high-end machines are built for companies with specific needs and don’t want to compromise on performance in certain areas,” said Lobovsky.(The Maker) “We looked for the base feature set that is useful for a lot of people.”

It took FormLabs just under three hours to reach their goal, and with the way this number keeps climbing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they surpassed Pebble’s $10.27 million in funding by the end of the month.

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