Ice1 & Ice9 – First Ever Affordable SLS 3D Printers to Launch on Kickstarter Next Week by Norge Systems
Undoubtedly we have seen more 3D printers which are based on fused deposition modelling technology come to market than the demand can feasibly handle at this time. FDM machines are getting to a point of over saturation, meaning that unless a company can create something new and different, to stand out from the crowd, they will likely have a difficult time competing. On the other hand, I think we are just beginning to see the rise of the sterolithography (SLA) based printers. Just like the FDM machines have seen a drastic drop in price, combined with innovative uses of the technology, the same is now happening within the market for SLA 3D printers. SLA technology enables much more accurate prints, but currently is more expensive than a typical FDM machine, primarily due to the need for a DLP projector which is used to cure a liquid resin.
One technology which has failed to make its way into the small business, consumer and desktop markets is that of selective laser sintering (SLS). When the phrase ‘selective laser sintering’ comes to mind, many picture the $1 million machines which use a laser to melt metal powder, layer-by-layer. Although this is one use for an SLS printer, the technology is also used with other mateials such as carbon fiber, nylon, rubber, and even glass filled polymide. With that said, the typical cost for almost any SLS printer starts at around $200,000, putting them out of reach for even some of the larger companies out there.
One Italian company called Norge Systems is trying to change all this. They are looking to create an SLS printer which is affordable for almost any business, small or large. They wanted to create a machine which was capable of extremely high quality prints and could utilize some of the best materials on the market.
After working tirelessly for close to 18 months, the company developed two new 3D printers which have the potential to change the market in a big way. The Ice1 and Ice9 SLS 3D printers are almost ready for production. The company, however, stated that they are 80% of the way there. This is why, on August 18th, they will turn to Kickstarter to help them raise the necessary funds needed to complete what should be the first two SLS 3D printers, which will be sold for a fraction of what a typical SLS printer goes for in today’s market. Below are some of the specifications of each machine.
- Price: $13,000
- Build Envelope: 20x20x25cm
- Printer Size: 900x300x350mm
- Layer Thickness: 0.1 – 0.15mm
- Print Speed: 8 to 25mm/hour
- Scan Speed During Build Process: up to 3 m/s
- Laser: Solid state 10W
- Price: $34,000
- Build Envelope: 30x30x45cm
- Printer Size: 1500x1025x410mm
- Layer Thickness: 0.1 – 0.15mm
- Print Speed: 10 to 30mm/hour
- Scan Speed During Build Process: up to 4 m/s
- Laser: 40W tube laser – Able to act as a laser engraver/cutter as well
Below is a list of some of the materials that will be compatible with both the Ice1 and Ice9 3D printers:
- DuraForm® Flex Plastic – A durable, rubber-like material with good tear resistance and burst strength
- DuraForm® EX Plastic – Impact resistant and extremely tough
- Windform XT – Carbon fiber filled material, with a polymide base
- DuraForm® HST – Elevated temperature resistance and high specific stiffness
- Duraform EX – Tough and excellent impact resistance
- DuraForm® PA Plastic – Excellent surface resolution and feature detail, compatible with autoclave sterilization
- DuraForm® FR 100 – Tough, impact resistant and most importantly flame resistant
- CastFormTM PS plastic – Foundry friendly material which works in the same manner as foundry wax
Both the Ice1 and Ice9, if funded via Kickstarter, will begin shipping in the third quarter of 2015. Additionally, Norge Systems claims to also be working on yet another model, called the IceM 3D printer. This machine will be capable of printing with metal powders such as titanium, alumide and steel. The company believes that they could have this printer ready for market by the first quarter of 2016. A price has yet to be announced.
It will be very interesting to see how the market plays out over the next year or two, as SLA printers drop in price and Norge Systems ignites a market for high quality SLS machines. Will FDM printers become a thing of the past, or will they too see innovations which allow them to compete with the quality presented by other technologies? Discuss these new printers in the Ice1 and Ice9 forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out a brief video below on these new printers:
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