Way back in July of this year we covered a Cranberra City, Australia startup called Hardcotton which was in the process of developing a very unique Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer, one which works in a way that has not been seen in any other 3D printer on the market today.
The printer, called Elemental, uses a patent pending pressurization system to present a unique approach to desktop SLA printing. While most desktop printers that utilize stereolithography print an object upside down, relying on the build platform to move the object being fabricated up a level so that the next layer of resin may be cured by the laser, the Elemental works with a new simplified system.
By utilizing their pressure control technology, objects within the Elemental are fabricated right-side up. Instead of the build platform moving within a tub of resin, the resin level actually rises as the object is printed. Because of this new technique, a wider range of resins may be used within the printer since there is no mechanical interaction with the printing material. Additionally, the entire process is extremely quiet with no Z-axis movement, and no support materials are needed, as the resin surrounding the printed object provides the support necessary.
After months of waiting, Hardcotton has just launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, in a drive to raise $250,000 AUD for full scale production of this machine. Unlike many SLA 3D printers on the market today which cost substantially more than typical FDM/FFF printers, the Elemental is priced very competitively to those machines. The first 50 Kickstarter backers will have the opportunity to purchase this printer for just $950 AUD. Once those 50 are sold out, the price will rise to $1,050 AUD for the next 200 backers. Once they too are gone, the next 400 backers will still be able to pick this machine up for $1,200 AUD before the price rises to $1,300 AUD.
If everything goes as intended and the company is able to raise the $250,000 AUD they have set for a goal, the very first machines will begin shipping worldwide by July of next year, with all Kickstarter backers receiving their printers by December of next year. The Elemental provides both quality and affordability as you can see from the machine’s general specifications provided below:
- Build Envelope: 200mm x 200mm x 200mm (7.87in x 7.87in x 7.87in)
- Z-Accuracy: 1 micron
- XY control resolution: 24-bit (variable through software)
- Laser Hardware: 405nm laser
- Features: Stand-alone SD-card printing, Bluetooth functionality
The unique approach taken by this company may be just what’s needed for the more precise, higher resolution technology, seen with SLA printers to bypass FDM/FFF 3D printers as the go-to desktop machines. Let us know your thoughts on this unique method used within Hardcotton’s machine, and if you have backed this project. Discuss all the details of this new printer in the Elemental forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the Kickstarter pitch video provided below: