“We wanted to make a machine that we would buy ourselves.” And when it comes to purchasing a 3D printer, that’s one of the best scenarios you can find–a company comprised of makers who plan on using the hardware themselves. With the ARC-One from Arcadian 3D, priced moderately at $1399 for early birds who support the Kickstarter campaign through Jan. 6, users can look forward to that winning combination most seek–great quality, with amazing affordability.
This Aussie startup, with a US base in Colorado as well, was founded by 23-year-old Alex Bolderoff 18 months ago in Perth. With a background in manufacturing and business, he combined his entrepreneurial talents with his passion for inventing, and embarked on a mission to provide today’s users with accessibility to the best open source FDM 3D printer possible.
Bolderoff and his team, headed up by CTO and engineer Joe Mosfet of Denver, were deeply inspired by their own experiences with ‘subpar printers.’ An experience many may be able to relate to, after their own negative consumer experiences, they were driven to turn that around–for everyone–by taking on the task of creating an improved–and unique–piece of technology themselves.
“I saw that most 3D printers were using the same old technology repackaged over and over again. As a consumer, I was expecting repeatable reliability in these expensive machines, and since that wasn’t happening, I decided to create my own,” said Bolderoff.
While producing a better 3D printer may sound like a familiar and simple mission, this is anything but a simple printer. Offering an all-in-one format, the ARC-One stands out as the first hobby-grade printer operating autonomously with the combined Linux OS and a 32-bit motion controller–meaning you do not need a PC to 3D print. In the market for dual printing? You can upgrade for just $70.
“Printing is as easy as obtaining a 3D model either via USB drive or SD-card or you can download directly on the printer’s intuitive 5-inch display… and telling it to print,” the team also explains via Kickstarter.
Users, spending 50-70% less on this printer compared to others typically in the $5,000 range, can also look forward to features and capabilities such as:
- Browsing 3D model sites and selecting directly from the printer, with classic USB printing modes also available for off-the-grid printing
- An (almost) 1-click experience for beginners, with settings and programs for advanced users
- Faster production, offering less downtime during builds
- Unlimited user choice of build material
- Simplified calibration
“The faster, smarter ARC-one is equipped with a number of automated features designed to shorten the learning curve for entry level users, and enable advanced users to jump right in and create stunning output. It saves you money, without compromising on quality,” states the team on their website.
- 400 x 400 x 400 mm build capacity with heated bed
- Dual nozzle capacity
- High speed of 150mm/s-300mm/s
- Automated bed leveling, offering high print resolution
- Five inch, full color touch LCD menu with encoder button
- Ability to print from Internet, Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth, USB, SD Card or from your PC with Windows, Mac, and Linux support
- Compatibility with all open-source and on-the-market host programs
- On-board software for model downloading, slicing and more
- Open-source electronic controller
- Print in a minimum layer height of 50 microns and a feature position of 12 micron
- Filament sensors for end of filament or slippage
With the unique operating system, users need little else to fulfill their 3D printing needs.
“We’ve utilized real time 32-bit processors on our open-source controller board, in turn allowing for faster printing,” states the team via Kickstarter. “Also, we’ve added an upgradeable genuine Raspberry-Pi computer processor that runs independently, and sends information back to the dedicated real-time printer processors, and a choice of many different peripherals–stepper drivers, USB, servos, LEDs–as well as the basic printer outputs/inputs, with all these functions on the same board.”
The dedicated processor allows you online access where you can go directly to areas like Thingiverse and download models for printing. You can also connect the ARC-One to your PC via USB, and it will connect with social media, sending tweets, messages, and preferred notifications. The ARC-One offers a print queue and tracks printing data.
Along with the versatility offered in use of materials, you can set up filament profiles, which allow for automatic parameters depending on brands and types of filament. The ARC-One uses many different materials, to include PLA, ABS and nylon in 1.75 mm.
- Software controlled stepper motor outputs
- Thermocouple and Thermistor input for regular and high-temperature readings
- USB points with extra USB points pinned out on the PCB
- Lots of servo motor outputs for future use
- Many LED light channels
- Supports PCB heat bed
- Supports silicone heater
- Raspberry Pi computer
- Lots of fan outputs
- Lots of sensor inputs
- Supports an external HD display
- Audio inputs and outputs
- E-switch circuit
- FSR Input and support
- Digital support for SSR/PID controller
While they have managed to create a system that is larger, faster, and offers a wide host of features, the focus truly is on providing an open source product and allowing accessibility through affordability.
“We keep our overhead low and keep the user in mind. I’m proud to say that our printer is at least 50% less expensive than comparable models on the market today, yet doesn’t have the same problems that plague other more expensive machines,” said Bolderoff. “Developing this technology was never about making us wealthy–it has always been about creating a fair product, in terms of price and quality.”
“I was the 3D printer consumer, and I know what it feels like to spend a lot on a printer that you’re disappointed in. We wanted to be different.”
A ‘must-have cloud and network connected 3D printer for any makerspace or business,’ the ARC-One printer should offer a great experience for either the novice or the advanced 3D printing operator and enthusiast. The ARC-One is set for delivery in July of 2016. Shipping is a flat rate of $110, and available to most countries. Discuss this new machine and whether you will be backing the Kickstarter project in the ARC-One forum thread on 3DPB.com,.