I have said this before, and I am not afraid to say it again. I believe that the future of desktop fabrication lies in the hands of Stereolithography(SLA) technology, over that of FFF/FDM technology. The reason being, SLA 3D printers are capable of much higher resolutions, and print speeds than their FDM-based counterparts. Speed and resolution are two main ingredients for a powerful desktop 3D printer. The main advantage of FDM-based machines are their prices and the durability of the printed objects, both areas which could soon be overcome by printers using SLA technology.
Way back in May, we were one of the first to cover a company called Kast, when they unveiled their printer at the HAXLR8R conference in San Francisco. What at first appeared to be yet another ordinary 3D printer, called the Kast 3D, turned out to be much more, at least going by what the company had claimed.
The brainchild of Co-founders Nirvana Jay and Yanjun “Compiler” Liu, the Kast 3D promised to be able to print at speeds of up to 12 times that of an ‘ordinary’ 3D printer. Unlike the majority of devices on the market, this machine used Steroelithography technology, and claims from the company indicated that it would be priced at under $2000.
Immediately, there were skeptics. Readers asked us things like, “How could a $2000 3D printer print 12 times faster than what’s out there today, it has to be a scam right?”
We didn’t have an answer at the time, however, the company seems very serious and we all will be finding out within weeks. Today, Kast announced that by the end of this month, the Kast 3D Printer will launch a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Using their proprietary RetinaCast® technology, and a patent pending ‘contact SLA’ technique, the company hopes to deliver a machine which is 5-12 times faster than current SLA/DLP based desktop printers on the market today. Additionally, it will be extremely easy to use, and print with very high resolutions at an affordable price. Below are some of the general specifications you will find in this 3D printer once it launches:
- Technology: RetinaKast-based SLA
- Build Envelope: 200mm x 154mm x 300mm
- Print Speed: 5 inches/hour
- Layer Resolution: 96 microns
- Printer Size: 341mm x 341mm x 555.5mm
- Printer Weight: 8kg
“We are currently working on producing the mass production version, and have nearly finished assembly of the first prototype of the mass production run,” explained Dan Myung from Kast. ” We are sorting out the other Kickstarter details at the moment, but our Early Adopter’s pledge level will be priced at $999 and will be limited to 25 backers.”
If this machine is capable of doing what they say it will, it could certainly be a game changer within the industry. Speed is one of the major hurdles within the industry and, if overcome, could lead to widespread adoption of 3D printers in households across the globe. Will you be backing this project on Kickstarter once launched? Discuss in the Kast 3D forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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