When it comes to consumer level 3D printers, there are 2 types of technology currently available. There is fused deposition modeling (FDM) and there is stereolithography (SLA). The former creates 3D objects by melting plastic and extruding it onto a print bed, one layer at a time. The latter uses either a laser or light projector in order to cure and harden a liquid resin, also one layer at a time. In the several years that 3D printers have been available for at-home use, these are the only technologies that we have seen on a massive scale.
A new company, Orange Maker™ hopes to change this. They have announced a brand new 3D printer, the Helios One, which uses a revolutionary new patent-pending technology, referred to as Heliolithography (HL).
“Heliolithography uses UV light, directed with ultra-high precision, to polymerize liquid resin into solid plastic,” explained Orange Maker Co-Founder Doug Farber to 3DPrint.com. “Heliolithography, in contrast to SLA, is a continuous printing process, which means we do not have to stop between layers and we can be printing 100% of the time.”
According to OrangeMaker, this new technology provides many benefits over the traditional SLA 3D printing process, including the follow:
- Continuous and efficient build process
- Large, scalable build area
- Ultra-high resolutions
- Reliable printing process with fewer failed prints
The printer will be targeted towards the prosumer market, and will be priced accessibly for this market, although no official price has been announced yet. More specifically Orange Maker informed us that the printer will be created for “Creative people in a wide variety of professions who are seeking high-quality reliable performance: designers of all kinds, engineers, artists, medical professionals, etc”.
Orange Maker believes that Heliolithography will allow them to produce a 3D printer which has greater limits in print size, resolution and range of possible materials. “We have already had many people reaching out already telling us that they can see why this is a significant advancement,” noted Farber.
This project actually began way back in 2011 when the company’s co-founders Kurt Dudley and Doug Farber began collaborating. Now, 3 years later, they are finally ready to announce their new technology, after filing for patents, and getting all of their ducks in a row.
“Quite simply, we’ve found a way to streamline efficiency, design, and material economy in 3D printing, a medium that has hitherto suffered from restrictions on variables such as size, speed, and availability of materials,” explained co-founder Kurt Dudley. “We’ve reached an ideal—greatly expanding functionality while achieving elegance and simplification through design and engineering.”
The Helios One will be released sometime in 2015, and will be available for purchase directly through Orange Maker as well as some third-party distributors. Additional printer models will be released soon after. It should be interesting to see more about how this new printer works, and what it ends up being priced at.
What do you think about this latest Heliolithography technology? Will it make a difference? Discuss in the Orange Maker Helios One forum thread on 3DPB.com
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