The Italian 3D printer manufacturer Sharebot is the maker of SnowWhite, a commercial and low-cost laser sintering (LS) system which they say is almost ready to hit the market.
The SnowWhite, when it’s not printing in sugar, uses nylon and nylon blend materials.
Gabriele Carloni and Andrea Radaelli, the leaders of the Sharebot research and development team, recently began a project to print in an ambient temperature environment using an air chamber. After their initial results, the pair say they just weren’t satisfied.
After taking their machine on a tour of the various shows during last fall, they took the opinions and ideas they got from various people and set to work on what they called “Pandino,” a project named for a famous Italian economy car to improve the SnowWhite printer.
One of their critical decisions was to modify the printer so that the sintering process happens in a “hot” environment which would allow it to use PA12 material.
Another change is that the build volume has been expanded to 100 x 100 x 130 mm and it includes “a new and better design for the powder distribution system.” They say the system also includes a new “spatula” to spread the powder and a double piston system to ramp up the printer’s speed to less than 10 second per layer.
They say their research involved a full study of how they managed software and its interaction with the mechanical components of the printer. Sharebot developer Cristian Giussani studied and revamped the entire code base used to control the machine — and that amounted to more than 20,000 total lines — and they changed the laser algorithm as well to allow for new controls and streamlined file conversion to make printing easier and faster.
Sharebot says the CO2laser at the core of the SnowWhite allows for sintering a variety of different materials from sugar to nylon to graphene, and that the SnowWhite is now “a functioning 3D printer” which is nearly market-ready.
Carloni says all the materials used in the SnowWhite’s process have been developed by Sharebot’s R&D department in Nibionno and that the SnowWhite will be available at a price of less than €20,000 (about $21,450 USD).
According to Carloni, “This price fully reflects our desire to provide a professional and economic product suitable for anyone looking for a printer that can produce small and complex objects with high definition.”
Do you think project SnowWhite will result in an SLS 3D printer that can compete with existing SLS machines? Let us know in the SnowWhite SLS Printer forum thread on 3DPB.com.