With all technology, the first generations are wildly expensive offerings from a single innovative source. I bought a Kindle ten years ago when they were around three or four hundred dollars and now there are options for well under $100. Partly this is because the scale at which they are being produced allows them be produced more cheaply, partly because the processes are well established, and partly because there is more competition in terms of other companies producing readers as well.

This same process of expensive first generation to decreasing cost has happened in 3D printing. There is, however, a law of diminishing returns to consider. The cheapest option isn’t always the best option, or at least, this is the argument being made by EnvisionTEC, a global provider of professional-grade 3D printing solutions. That doesn’t mean that people haven’t been asking them to develop something less expensive, and now they have responded with the launch of their newest 3D printer, Aria. This printer offering is less expensive than the other printers in their line, but still doesn’t come cheap, because it isn’t cheap. Instead, they have aimed to create a less expensive model designed for professional 3D printer users while still delivering the high quality that has become their hallmark.

As EnvisionTEC CEO Al Siblani explained:

“For 15 years, EnvisionTEC has been known for its unwavering commitment to delivering professional-grade 3D printers, and we have never wanted to sell a cheap printer. Today, with the launch of Aria, we remain faithful to our mission of delivering a premium product, but at a more accessible price that gives users a taste of EnvisionTEC’s outstanding quality.”

Aria comes with a price tag of just under $7,000 USD and is built on the same Micro platform as its other machines. This new machine has an industrial-grade UV LED light engine, a dual-axis Z slide, Z layer resolution that can be set at 25, 35, or 50 microns, and a material tray that is built not with plastic but with optical glass. The idea is to offer high quality rather than basement costs, but in doing so provide something that will maintain their reputation and allow its users to have invested their money in something that will hold up in the long run.

The Aria 3D printer is being offered with a choice of four of the most popular materials produced by EnvisionTEC: EC500, PIC100, QView, and RC90, with the possibility of being utilized with other materials, provided they are certified by EnvisionTEC. The machine is particularly appropriate for manufacturers of jewelry, and toys and miniatures, but is also built for users producing industrial parts. Specs include:

  • Build Area: 2.36 x 1.77 x 3.94 in. (65 x 40 x 100 mm)
  • Footprint: 9 x 9.5 x 24.2 in. (22.86 x 24.13 x 61.5 cm)
  • Electrical Requirement: 110 VAC @ 3A
  • Weight: 35 lbs (16 kg)

A curing box is also available, priced at $599, to finish parts. The Aria Curing Box, according to EnvisionTEC, “features 36 LEDs that deliver light in the 390-420 nm wavelength range and a rotating turntable, for uniform curing of the resin.”

The 3D printer is available for purchase through the EnvisionTEC website, although currently it can only be purchased by users in North America and Europe. With an estimated shipping time of 4 – 6 weeks, it probably won’t be ready to put near a tree, but that’s probably for the best as the amount of wrapping paper required to cover it would be an investment in and of itself and its size makes it inconvenient as a stocking stuffer. Instead, think of it as a holiday offering to help start or grow a business in the new year.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or in the Facebook comments below.

[Images: EnvisionTEC]

 

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