As time goes on and the various technologies within the 3D printing space progress, a battle will likely emerge between two of the more quickly advancing technologies. One is fused deposition modeling (FDM), like that which the MakerBot Replicator line of printers use, and the other is Stereolithography (SLA), where a laser or projector cures a photosensitive resin, like the technology used within FormLabs’ 3D printers. Within several years, I imagine that SLA technology may win out, as its ability to fabricate objects with much higher resolution, and oftentimes faster than that of FDM technology, will be coveted by consumers.
It’s only recently that we have begun to see a number of companies besides FormLabs enter the SLA space. In doing so, prices are being driven down, and the competition is leading to even higher resolutions and print speeds.
One company, called Reify-3D, based out of the ‘Asia’s Silicon Valley’, Hsinchu, Taiwan, has just unveiled their SLA DLP-based 3D printer, the Solus.
The Solus, which was created to be an extremely flexible DLP printer, can produce objects at very high resolutions, over a large build area, while providing its users the option of either using an XGA or HD projector to cure resin during its print process. There are some very interesting innovations built into this printer.
“Our greatest effort went into creating a peeling system that allows the user to print large, highly detailed or minute objects while eliminating the need for replacing or re-coating the resin tank,” explained the company. “To achieve this, we drew on our team’s expertise in the flat-panel and semiconductor industries to source a material with high strength, excellent chemical resistance and a low surface energy. We have named this patent-pending tilt peeling method TUF due to its durability.”
The goal of the team, is to be able to provide a formidable SLA printer, with software that is easy to use, at a cost which will not break the bank. Below are some of the general specifications which make this machine so powerful.
Using XGA (1024×768) Projector:
- 50-140 microns resolution xy
- 14.5 x 11 x 20cm build area
Using HD (1920×1080) Projector
- 25-76 microns resolution xy
- 14.5 x 8.2 x 20cm build area
Reify, founded by Canadian Mark Kuhnlein, and led by a team of designers and engineers with diverse backgrounds, will be launching the Solus on Indiegogo very shortly, seeking to raise the capital needed to push forward full scale production. The company has already used the Solus printer to fabricate bone tissue and stem cell scaffolds for a leading medical university. The printer itself, without a projector, will be priced around $1,000 for early Indiegogo backers. A new XGA projector can be purchased separately for around $300, while an HD projector will run you around $600. The printer features extendable legs, making it well suited for use with almost any size DLP projector. Either way you go about it, this printer is very affordable for the capabilities it will offer.
Stay tuned to the Reify Solus 3D printer forum thread on 3DPB.com for additional information about the imminent launch of their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
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