3D printers, particularly desktop 3D printers, are becoming less expensive overall. With desktop 3D printers on the market for just a couple hundred dollars, in some cases, it’s becoming much easier for individuals to have 3D printers in their homes or offices. Industrial 3D printers are another story, though. While prices have come down in some cases, there’s still a gap into which many small businesses fall, unable to afford high-quality, large-volume industrial 3D printers. That’s the gap that Wave3D is trying to address.
This month, the Toronto company introduced the Wave3D Pro, a large, bottom-up industrial SLA 3D printer designed to be accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. As Wave3D points out, industry reports show that the most viable market for 3D printers is the enterprise and commercial market, rather than the consumer market, with enterprise customers making up as much as 95% of the industry. That’s the very market that’s being neglected, however, with most quality enterprise solutions still out of reach for the average business.
“Today, large, industrial 3D printing is still a six-figure proposition for almost any company that wants to producelarge, high quality parts,” said Ajay Deshmukh , Co-Founder and CEO of Wave3D. “In our early market research, large size, high quality, reliability and affordability remained a combination that was just not available. Compromises needed to be made, on either size, or materials available, or even with the orientations of prints in order to get the types of industrial output needed for enterprise applications. We simply asked ourselves, how could we deliver a final outcome that rivaled all aspects of an industrial printer, with the simplicity of a desktop?”
To answer that question, the company had to rethink and re-engineer the typical bottom-up SLA 3D printer model. Some of this re-engineering came in the form of small but key changes like the proprietary build tray, which uses an optically clear film instead of silicone like most other SLA printers. The film can be easily and cheaply replaced if damaged or worn out, and eliminates hazing and sticking so that large, flat objects can be easily 3D printed. The tray also comes with built-in resin circulation, leveling and temperature control so that users can have a large external resin supply – or as little as 1.5 liters, depending on need. This avoids problems like settling resin or the need for multiple trays.
The Wave3D Pro is designed to be easy to set up and to use. It’s mobile and compact enough to fit through any door, while offering a large build volume of 15.5 x 8.5 x 22 inches. The materials system is completely open, as is the slicing and support generation software. Specifications include:
- Build volume: 15.5 x 8.5 x 22 inches
- Resolution: 50 microns
- Layer thickness: 20-100 microns
- Wavelengths: 385 or 405 nm
“The high resolution and high build speed is achieved by dynamically positioning a 1080p UV projector to create each print layer,” Wave3D Co-Founder and CTO Sebastian Tanczak tells 3DPrint.com.
So just how low-cost is the Wave3D Pro? The price isn’t yet set in stone, or even resin, but Wave3D estimates that it could be as low as $60,000 for an initial pilot program. The company has completed a commercial unit as well as a working demonstration model that is capable of being manufactured on a small scale for the pilot program. Pre-orders have been placed already, but Wave3D is looking for partnerships and/or investments – or even a possible acquisition – before a formal launch.
If you’re interested, or have questions about the Wave3D Pro, you can contact the company at [email protected]. Below, you can see some examples of the Wave3D Pro in action:
Discuss in the Wave3D forum at 3DPB.com.
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