NiXTEK is on a mission to make the world more colorful – and they’re taking an interesting approach to doing so, through a newly developed 3D printer called the NIX… now on Kickstarter. There have been several approaches to full-color 3D printing introduced in the last couple of years, and the technology almost always draws a great deal of attention and excitement. I can’t think of anyone who isn’t entranced by the idea of being able to create prints in as many colors they choose, and the NIX… seeks to make it especially easy, with added flexibility.
The NIX… appears to be a refined, updated version of the Tomato 3D printer, which NiXTEK had introduced in 2015. It features patented color-blending technology that the company, according to founder Felix Chan, spent two years developing. It’s based on one of the most fundamental concepts taught in any art class – that you can create almost any color on the spectrum by mixing the primary colors of red, blue and yellow, with some help from white and black. The NIX… features three independently controlled Bowden extruders that deliver specific percentages of each filament color into a mixing chamber, based on the specifications the user sets in the software. The filaments are then melted and mixed together before being extruded as a customized blended color.
“You can print most color by mixing the 3 basic colors, Red, Yellow and Blue,” NiXTEK states. “Or you can also use other special filaments to make astonishing prints, such as Transparent, Metallic, Wood, or even Carbon fiber filaments. There is no limit to your creativity.”
I’m intrigued by the idea of mixing filaments such as wood and carbon fiber into one blended print, and it appears that the NIX… has an open filament system that allows for a lot of experimentation. It’s a pleasant to look at printer, too, offered in a range of translucent, bright colors, and it’s sturdily built from laser cut parts and CNC-machined brushed aluminum.
“When we design the printer from the very beginning, we try to make the NIX… printer affordable to everyone,” NiXTEK explains. “We did it by smart engineering design, and make use of laser cut manufacturing process to avoid high development cost for moldings, then we have no need to charge high price to cover the development cost.”
The Kickstarter campaign is trying to raise £20,000 by February 14, and though it just launched yesterday, it’s already approaching the halfway point towards its goal. The £749 early bird price is for a DIY kit, with all the parts and tools you need to assemble your own printer along with instructional assembly videos. An £849 early bird pledge will get you a fully assembled printer. For £899, you can get either a fully assembled (non-early bird) printer or a DIY kit that comes with four spools of filament in red, yellow, blue and white. £999 will get you a fully assembled printer along with filament, and if you’re feeling really committed, you can get five assembled printers for £3,999.
Rewards are estimated for delivery in June of this year, so if you’re a student or teacher, you’ll have all summer to experiment. The NIX… uses Repetier software, but most open source slicing software is compatible. The build volume is 20 x 20 x 14 cm (8 x 8 x 5.5 in), with a resolution of up to five microns. A standard 0.5 mm nozzle prints with filament of 1.75 mm diameter, and although only the four standard filament colors are provided with the higher-level pledges, NiXTEK states that they will work with supporters who want different or extra colors.
Take a look at the Kickstarter video below and be sure to check out the campaign here:Discuss in the NiXTEK forum at 3DPB.com.
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