It’s been a remarkable month for California company Kudo3D. At the beginning of June, the company launched its newest 3D printer on Kickstarter, and hit its funding goal in a mere two minutes. Within a week, the campaign had raised over 800% of its goal for the Bean 3D printer, which backers are clearly excited about. Now there are only a few days left in the campaign, which ends on July 18, and Kudo3D is closing in on $600,000, making its initial goal of $50,000 seem like pocket change.
While the Bean 3D printer clearly has a lot going for it, a 3D printer is only as good as its materials, and Kudo3D has put a lot of effort into developing high quality resins for the SLA machine. The campaign initially offered four resins with the Bean, in green, yellow, gray and black, and the Kudo3D team promised that they were also in the process of developing a castable resin, to be released prior to shipping. The company has kindly been keeping its backers updated on the process of the development of the castable resin, and this week it released the results of the first print test.
Castable resins are specially designed for investment casting, particularly for jewelry making. Jewelry casting is a process in which the piece of jewelry is initially made from wax, then placed in liquid ceramic and heated in an oven. The wax will melt and burn away, leaving a hollow mold in its place; metal is then poured into the mold to create the final piece. It’s a process that has been used to create jewelry for thousands of years, but 3D printing, specifically SLA 3D printing, has made it easier. Rather than carving by hand, jewelers can now create their designs digitally, 3D print them in a waxlike resin, and have them cast from the 3D print.
Castable resins, therefore, are designed to be able to 3D print in minute detail, capturing every intricate aspect of jewelry pieces in fine resolution. They’re also formulated so that they burn out cleanly from the molds. In June, Kudo3D shared with its backers images of several rings that had been 3D printed using the in-development castable resin, noting that the prints would be sent out to have the rest of the casting process completed. This week, the final jewelry pieces were returned, and from the looks of them, the resin is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing.
Four separate ring designs were 3D printed, and they came back displaying clean lines and fine detail, looking ready to be set with jewels. They look great, especially for a first test, but the Kudo3D team states that they are working on making further improvements to the resin so that it will pick up details even more clearly.
It’s been a month since we checked in with Kudo3D, so for a quick refresher: early bird Kickstarter rewards are long gone, but you still have a few days if you’d like to back the campaign and receive a Bean 3D printer for as little as $399, with shipping estimated in February of 2018. The low cost of the Bean is certainly part of what has attracted so many backers to the campaign, but the fact that Kudo3D is a proven company with multiple successful 3D printer releases (in the form of the Titan line) undoubtedly has something to do with it as well. SLA 3D printers are coveted by many, especially those whose work requires a lot of high-resolution detail – like jewelers, for example, and the news that the company’s castable resin is coming along so nicely should garner the campaign even more support as it winds down its last few days. Discuss in the Kudo3D forum at 3DPB.com.