The technology of 3D printing certainly appeals to the rebellious spirit found in many creative types who have the bravery that is often necessary when taking artistic and innovative risk, whether coming from the designer, engineer, or budding student. Initially criticized by some due to what was thought to be a lack of accessibility and affordability that would be a long time in coming, 3D printing has accelerated far beyond what many expected in such a short amount of time, thanks to many motivated makers and manufacturers around the world. Because of this we are seeing enthusiasts from nearly everywhere able bring their designs to fruition in a self-sustained fashion, whether as individuals creating mini-factories in their living rooms and workshops, as students and teachers in the classroom, or architects and engineers at the office desktop.
And while it’s nice to consider an expensive, elegant machine sometimes almost doubling as a work of art in your midst, what’s most important are the results emerging from your 3D printer. Simplicity is key in all facets of life when operating on a budget, and when you are able to get down to business for $199 in 3D printing today, there’s little care for unnecessary dressing up or bells and whistles that you can live without.
Cetus 3D, headquartered in Beijing, is dedicated to putting 3D printers into the hands of those who like compact technology combined with a very reasonable print volume of 180 x 180 x 180 mm. We reported on this team of developers and their new 3D printer less than a month ago as they announced they would be offering the machine on Kickstarter soon. Now, the Cetus 3D printer, offering a mix of high minimalism with high quality, has just been launched on the popular crowdfunding site in the hopes of raising $100K for beginning mass production, as well as finishing development and testing of Cetus software.
If you are backing the campaign as a Super Early Bird, you can get in on the low $199 price, which also includes an early shipping date of November 2016 (shipping costs/VAT not included in the backing price). This is the standard version, which is easily upgraded to the extended model (taking you from 180 x 180 x 180 mm to 180 x 300 x 180 mm), offered as an add-on, along with several really cool printables the company has created as great examples of what this little 3D printer can do. If you miss the Super Early Bird, you can still order the printer at $249, receiving 17% off of the regular price, with shipping commencing in December of this year. Prices ascend from there to offer combo packs, discounted according to how early you order.
And while simplicity may be a focus with the Cetus 3D, in no way will innovators find themselves lacking as they look forward to a user-friendly design that runs nearly silently, including features such as an extruder that offers three nozzle options.
“The print head is designed for easy maintenance, allowing the user to change the nozzle quickly without it heating up,” states the Cetus team on Kickstarter.
“The nozzle modules use a peek cap to prevent any plastic residue from sticking to the nozzle surface. This reduces the amount of fume emissions and increases the longevity of the nozzles.”
Not only is the ability to print in high detail promised, but the Cetus 3D team even goes so far as to state that users will find that their compact, portable 3D printer has better resolution than “most other FDM printers” on the market. No leveling is required for the 3mm aluminum build plate, which is fixed directly onto the linear guide. The flat build surface runs parallel along the X-axis, with the Y-axis ‘carefully calibrated’ before it leaves the factory. A special coating is added to the print bed as well, meaning that you can look forward to 3D printing without any issues in adhesion or print removal.
The Cetus 3D is both hackable and upgradeable, as well as allowing for the use of a number of alternative materials in addition to PLA. Again, when you consider the price, it’s pretty amazing that you can also even experiment in 3D printing with materials like metal, wood, and flexible filaments—and that’s just a start!
Convenience is not sacrificed either as you can control operations wirelessly, as well as enjoying the iPhone app for both slicing and starting and stopping operations through wifi. The accompanying Cetus software is straightforward yet offers a great deal to the user, including features such as:
- Easy breakaway Smart Support
- Photo to lithopane
- Custom print material
- Compatibility with Windows, Mac, and iOS (with fully supported GCode soon)
- Cloud-based functions
“The software is able to automatically generate support structures to print models with overhanging structures. These supports can be fine-tuned according to user preference. The removal of the raft and support are also very easy,” states the Cetus team.
Check out the video below for an example of how easy it is to go from the digital design process to the 3D printer:
Made with aluminum extrusions, the lightweight machine offers six modules:
- 3 x Axis module
- 1 x Electronic module
- 1 x Print bed module
- 1 x Extruder module
And as it weighs only seven pounds, you can pack this 3D printer up and carry it from home to the studio to a friend’s house, sharing the accessibility further. As you peruse the Kickstarter page, you’ll quickly see that this is an incredible deal wrapped into a small piece of hardware bearing a small pricetag. And if this is the future of desktop 3D printers, we have a lot to look forward to in terms of features and extreme affordability.
For now and with very little investment, users can look forward to everything they need to get started. This new 3D printer is already off to a great start on Kickstarter (as of the time of publishing, the campaign has already reached $17,000 toward its goal—check it out!) and we look forward to following its progress. Are you backing this campaign? Discuss over in the Cetus 3D Printer forum at 3DPB.com.