Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Rapide Lite 50 Micron Resolution, Affordable FDM 3D Printers On Their Way in 3 Different Sizes

ST Medical Devices

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rap-4A few months back, we saw an all out price war when it came to desktop FDM-based 3D printers. This price war was brought to an abrupt halt when a couple of crowdfunding projects were forced to call it quits, after realizing that the prices they had offered their products at were unsustainable. I think this was a wake up call to the industry, and since then we have seen more of an emphasis on new features, rather then a race to the first $99 3D printer.

One Shenzhen, China based company, Rapide-3d, founded by an Australian named Ethan Hunt, is the manufacturer of a few different interesting 3D printers, namely the Rapide One and the Rapide Pro. This company may soon put us back on a trajectory inherent of a price war. With that said, we will not be seeing a $99 or even a $299 3D printer from them anytime soon. It does appear that a very high quality sub $500 machine is on its way though.  In fact, early

The company is about ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for their latest line of machines, the Rapide Lite. The 3D printer, which will come in three different sizes, 200, 350 and 500mm, will be built from sturdy anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, with the frames of each printer being 6, 8 and 10mm thick, respectively.  The campaign will begin on September 15, and backers will  be able to pre-order one for under $400.

rap-1

As for the printers’ capabilities and specifications, this is what Hunt has provided us with:

Lite 200:

  • Printer Dimensions: (W) 360mm, (L) 350mm, (H) 380mm
  • Build Size: 200mm x 200mm x 200mm
  • Build Volume : 8,000cm3
  • Printing Material: PLA, ABS, PVA, Nylon, HIPPS, Laywood
  • Filament Size: 1.75mm & 3.0mm from any source.
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5mm
  • Min Layer Height: 50 microns
  • Total weight: 10kg
  • Some Features: Heated Build Platform, Replaceable Nozzle
X Wing Axis

X Wing Axis

Lite 350

  • Printer Dimensions: (W) 470mm, (L) 450mm, (H) 470mm (approx.)
  • Build Size: 350mm x 350mm x 350mm
  • Build Volume : 42,875cm3
  • Printing Material: PLA, ABS, PVA, Nylon, HIPPS, Laywood
  • Filament Size: 1.75mm & 3.0mm from any source.
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5mm
  • Min Layer Height: 50 microns
  • Total weight: 21kg
  • Some Features: LCD Screen, On Board Camera, Heated Build Platform, Replaceable Nozzle

Lite 500

  • Printer Dimensions: (W) 620mm, (L) 650mm, (H) 650mm (approx)
  • Build Size: 500mm x 500mm x 500mm
  • Build Volume : 125,000cm3
  • Printing Material: PLA, ABS, PVA, Nylon, HIPPS, Laywood
  • Filament Size: 1.75mm & 3.0mm from any source.
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5mm
  • Min Layer Height: 50 microns
  • Total weight: 44kg
  • Some Features: LCD Screen, On Board Camera, Heated Build Platform, Replaceable Nozzle

The print resolution for these printers seems incredibly high for such an affordable device. Hunt explained to us how he has managed this: “We have designed a new X Wing Axis which has allowed us to mount the stepper motor in the center, rap-5behind the machine. This gives much more precise movement and stability, allowing us to achieve up to 50 (genuine) microns.”

For those of you questioning Hunt’s ability to see this project through, don’t. The company owns their own 10,000m2 factory in Shenzhen, China, where they will be manufacturing these 3D printers.

“Production of Rapide Lite is set to 5000 units per month at this stage, with the capacity to increase this to 15,000 per month over the next 6 months depending on demand,” Hunt explained to 3DPrint.com.

Those who want to be notified upon the launching of their crowdfunding campaign can simply head to their website and subscribe to their mailing list. Let’s hear your thoughts on this potentially new printer in the Rapide Lite forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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