Kickstarter has been a great way for 3D printer manufacturers to get off the ground. We have seen so many 3D printers launch crowdfunding campaigns in the past few months, that we can’t even count how many have been successfully funded.
We will surely continue to see more 3D printer companies, utilizing crowdfunding in the future. One of these companies is Sculptify, a 3D printer manufacturer located in Columbus, Ohio. They claim to have developed a new method of 3D printing, that allows people to print in a “nearly limitless amount of materials”. They do this, by introducing an innovative technology that they refer to as Fused Layer Extrusion (FLEX). FLEX allows the 3D printer to print directly from pelletized material, rather than spools of filament.
“We want to make 3D printing easier for everyday use, but also expand versatility for enthusiasts and professionals,” explained Slade Simpson, Sculptify Co-Founder and CEO. “Our goal is to deliver a 3D printing system, which offers a wide range of printing materials at significantly reduced costs. We’ll be able to print using many different types of thermoplastics.”
The FLEX system allows for a plethora of new material options, that could open the world of 3D printing up to the printing of more useful objects. One such material is thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which allows for the printing of flexible, bendable, super durable objects. TPU is commonly used in footware, device cases, and sporting goods, and is very similar to common rubber. TPU can be used to print out objects that you normally wouldn’t be able to print very easily on traditional 3D printers. These object include things like, tool grips, RC tires, flexible fabrics, and simple gaskets, among other things.
This is just one of the multiple materials that will be available when the printer starts to ship. Sculptify plans on constantly testing new materials, to bring them to market as well. The Sculptify 3D printer allows for multiple setting changes, so that it can work with the huge variety of materials that they expect to have available.
“Choice is a powerful thing, and that’s what we hope our printer brings to the community and to those new to the 3D printing world,” explained Simpson.
One of the desirable benefits of having a 3D printer that can print using plastic pellets, is that the consumer can save a ton of money. Rolls of filament are very costly, and can single-handedly deter people from wanting to use their 3D printers. Pellets are very much more affordable, since they are raw materials; materials that are easily obtained, and require no manufacturing, like that of spooled filament.
“Pelletized plastics offer an appealing alternative to filament [the current standard in personal 3D printers on the market],” said Simpson. “They are not only more affordable, but also create an inviting experience due to their ease of use. We believe this will attract new customers to 3D printing and to Sculptify.”
Sculptify plans on launching their Kickstarter campaign sometime in June, if all goes as planned. No price has been announced yet for their 3D printer. Discuss this new 3D Printer and their FLEX technology in the Sculptify discussion thread on 3DPB.com.
Check out a couple videos form Sculptify’s CEO below:
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