After a long wait, it’s finally here: the Kickstarter campaign for the new large-volume, industrial-grade Satori 3D printer, the VL2800, officially launched this week, and in less than ten hours from starting had already raised more than its initial crowdfunding goal! The new Satori VL2800 MSLA system features an advanced 6K monoscreen, so artists and product designers can print large, precise models up to 27.8cm x 15.6 cm x 30 cm in size. Additionally, the London-based, female-led startup partnered up with established Chinese hobbyist-level 3D printing company Elegoo to launch its latest premium printer, the company’s second resin system following its compact ST1600.
“Satori and Elegoo join forces to evolve 3D printing. 12.8 inch, 6K screen and industrial parts for scale, precision and speed,” the campaign page states.
So, let’s back up a little. When I last spoke to Satori founder and CEO Chengxi Wang, she told me that her inspiration for the new VL2800 actually came from Satori’s collaboration with industrial designer Mahdi Naim.
“When we were developing the machine, we really wanted to use feedback from our design partners and our community to help us think of what’s important. A lot of manufacturing decisions can deviate from what a customer needs, just to push the tech specs higher and better, but for us it’s more what the customer needs,” she told me.
Naim collaborated again with Satori, this time to 3D print a medical-grade prosthetic leg for a social initiative in Africa on the new VL2800 printer. Wang said that the results were “beyond our expectations.” According to Satori’s newsletter, the goal here was “to make the 3D printing technology as approachable as possible, to empower global creatives and innovators with an affordable but powerful tool,” and in the case of Naim’s 3D printed prosthetic leg, it seems like this strategy worked.
“During our collaboration, I noticed that the Satori printer was precise and fast, the high-quality resin reveals the shape thanks to its relation to the light, while giving a soft touch and durability,” Naim said. ” The machine is perfect for more complex designs allowing you to print bigger, intricate pieces such as a prosthetic leg.”
Satori wanted to collaborate with Elegoo on the launch for this new printer in order to make the professional system more accessible. It’s actually rather fitting that Satori is partnering with a hobbyist printer company, as the startup itself was founded to fill a new need in resin printing that’s somewhere between hobby and industrial printers. For the price, hobby 3D printers generally achieve great results, but are less reliable, while industrial systems, as Satori explained, are “based on old technology and old patents.” Together, the two companies are offering this large-scale, premium industrial 3D printer that will be sold at a more affordable price so it’s more accessible to the innovators and designers wanting to print high-quality prototypes and figurines from their homes, studios, and offices.
“Kickstarter campaigns need a manufacturing capacity validation,” Wang told me. “We’re still very young, so we wanted to partner with a company that has a track record of delivery. Last year, they launched pre-orders for its Saturn system, and sold 2,000 units within 2 minutes and 50 seconds. People trust the brand…they have a big fan community, and also they have the manufacturing capacity.”
This brought me to my next point. Satori successfully launched its ST1600 3D printer solely on its website, as opposed to using a crowdfunding campaign, so I wondered why they were going the Kickstarter route this time around.
“We’re doing this in a really untraditional way,” Wang said to me, noting that many companies choose to crowdfund their first printer, rather than their second. “But for us it’s about the pricing strategy. We wanted to have a preferable price point for the early adopters, so we want to separate that from our regular market. And Kickstarter is a place to award early adopters and create different tiers, like Super Early Bird, Early Bird, and Kickstarter special price. Afterwards, when we move it to our own website, then it will assume the market price.”
She also reminded me that Satori wants “to push 3D printing awareness beyond the 3D printing community,” and explained that Kickstarter will allow the startup to do just that, at a more accessible price.
On Kickstarter, there is a discount of 30%, or £925, off the actual MSRP of the new Satori VL2800, which is £3,075. Satori is awarding its loyal community with exclusive, much more reasonable prices on this professional resin system, with a first-come, first-serve, super early bird cost of £2,150.
“Including our limited edition SUPER EARLY BIRD discount, with 30% off MSRP (saving £925) and the benefit of being first in line for shipping! Followed by our EARLY BIRD discount offer of 24% off (saving £725), and our KICKSTARTER SPECIAL of 19% off (saving £575). Be first in line for our Kickstarter Campaign to take advantage of these amazing offers!”
Obviously, the shipping cost of the VL2800 will vary depending on the ultimate delivery destination. But, as Wang told me, the startup has “a very good delivery time with Kickstarter.” The printer’s development was validated with prototype systems, and, thanks to the support of Elegoo’s efficient manufacturing capacity, is ready to produce, so the estimated delivery time—starting in September of 2021—will be much shorter than the average crowdfunding campaign.
With its 278 x 156 x 300 mm build volume, the factory-leveled printer is compact enough to fit on a desk, but big enough to print a whole bike helmet in one job, or efficiently batch produce large quantities of smaller items. A 6K mono screen allows the printer to achieve faster cure times and 51 micron pixel size across the entire build platform. Resin 3D printers are great at achieving intricate details, but it can be tough to ensure high-quality, smooth surfaces without distortions, especially with large-volume systems. Satori invested in premium components, like a steel Z-axis with a self-monitoring feature for the motor and a HIWIN KK module that uses a ball screw and closed loop stepper for better stability, to make certain that its printer could deliver the goods.
Satori really listened to what its users wanted when designing the new VL2800, with a focus on designers in industries like architecture, animation, and jewelry. In addition to the previously mentioned partnership with industrial designer Mahdi Naim, Satori also worked with jewelry designer and SWAROVSKI scholar Siohban Wallace of Shhh von Studio to create a large-scale, interconnected chain necklace, which was 3D printed in all its intricate detail on the VL2800.
“This isn’t our first machine, but it is our first aimed at you, the creative who wants to step up in their printing,” the Kickstarter states.
Satori set the original Kickstarter funding goal at a little under $71,000, which equals roughly £50,154, and in just four days they’ve already raised $95,535 (£70,964), so it’s safe to say that the VL2800 will indeed be successfully funded, not that I really doubted it for a second. With more than 30 days to go in the campaign, there are still plenty of rewards left, such as a limited edition, structural phone stand created by Mahdi Naim and printed on the Satori VL2800 for a £50 pledge. Each of the three early bird rewards includes the new 3D printer, 1 kg of premium Grey Pro resin, and some tools to get started, like gloves, resin filters, a wide blade spatula, a silicone squeegee, and more.
“We are a young, passionate team wanting to shake up 3D printing,” the Satori Kickstarter campaign concludes. “We’ve heard the need for entry-level industrial machines and seen the shortcomings of what’s currently out there, and are building Satori to help other small businesses and makers innovate with the power of 3D printing. Your support will empower us to make this vision happen.”
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