While FDM/FFF technology is awesome for many DIY products as well as prototyping, there is little doubt that the technology leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to accuracy, precision, and aesthetics. While prices for such machines have tumbled over the last couple of years, opening the market up to a greater number of individuals, there are other technologies waiting in the wings to take the desktop market by storm.
Since I first started covering the industry a couple of years ago, I’ve always been curious, often asking executives within some of the larger 3D printer manufacturers when it is that they think the technologies behind some of the more sophisticated binder jetting, or polyjetting, machines may transition to the desktop consumer market. After all, the technology is there, why not simply miniaturize it? While there are many reasons, from both a business and a technology standpoint, as to why this has yet to happen, there is no doubt that it eventually will.
One company which is seemingly taking the first steps in this direction, leapfrogging the larger corporations like 3D Systems and Stratasys, is Taiwan-based Addwii. Founded in 2011, the company has recently unveiled their compact powder bed 3D printer, capable of fabricating full-color objects at a staggering 1200dpi. Called the X1, the machine is sleek, compact, and judging from pictures of objects printed, incredibly accurate.
While 3D Systems offers larger binder jetting 3D printers at price points which most small businesses can’t afford, Addwii hoped to expand the market for such a product by offering the X1 for NT. [Updated: please note the X1 3D printer is no longer an Addwii product.]
This new machine, which utilizes patented full-color inkjet heads, is being marketed towards those within the rapid prototyping, industrial and mechanical design, architecture, civil engineering, health care, art, and education spaces, among others. Below are some of the X1’s general specifications:
- Printer Size: 800 x 620 x 700 mm
- Build Envelope: 200 x 160 x 150 mm
- Color Print Resolution: 1200 x 554 dpi
- Print Speed 42mm/hour Vertically
- Layer Thickness: 0.08 to 0.12mm
- File Compatibility: STL, VRML, (via pre-treatment optimization software can support another PLY, 3DS, OBJ and other formats)
- Number of Nozzles: 2
Additionally Addwii is offering a machine which goes along with the X1 called the DP1. The DP1 is a powder recovery system which allows for the safe, efficient cleaning of prints once they have be taken out of the printer, allowing for the re-use of loose powder that may have been attached to the print.
The company estimates that the first machines will begin shipping prior to the end of this month. Let us know if you’ve had the opportunity to try the X1 out and what your thoughts were. Discuss in the Addwii X1 forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the machine and some of its prints below: