3D machines of the week: miniFactory 3, Solidator and Xede 3SP

The top three 3D printers, scanners and other whatsits that have come to our attention over the last seven days.

The Solidator DLP desktop 3D printer launches on Kickstarter

The most interesting 3D print-related happening on Kickstarter this week comes from Florida start-up Tangible Engineering. Its Solidator DLP desktop 3D printer just hit the crowd-funding site, with a hefty $125,000 target and a promise to print larger parts with better quality and faster speeds than traditional desktop devices.

Solidator 3D printing

To make good on the promise, the Solidator utilises a combination of stereolithography and Digital Light Processing to build its objects. This process turns specially developed liquid plastic resin, a material comparable to nail polish, into a solid object with improved pace, hardening an entire 0.1 mm layer in one go. The vast build area of 11.02” x 8.26” x 7.87” and the 270 micron resolution mean large objects are delivered with superb accuracy.

Solidator 3D printer

As you can see from the snaps, the Solidator prints upside down, its final objects boasting not just precise detail but also a barely visible shine.

If you want to be sure of getting your own Solidator when the first shipment hits in March 2014, a pledge of $4,950 to the project will get you just that, provided, of course, that the campaign is a success. Tangible Engineering certainly sounds confident that it will be, claiming it has already gone through several prototypes and rigorously tested the final product design over a six month period. All it needs the support for is to mass produce the first batch of Solidators in as affordable and efficient a manner as possible.

The miniFactory 3 reduces the potential of broken objects

Though the Finnish miniFactory 3 has been on the market since September, it finds a place on our list as we only found out about it in the last few days and it is a fascinating piece of equipment. A commonly cited issue with plastic filament 3D printers is the breakability of the objects. As a regular 3D printer’s extruder moves above the building platform, the stress levels on the material can often cause it to warp, bend or break. The miniFactory 3 has an answer to this problem.

miniFactory 3D printer

The device’s extruder stays stationary throughout the process while, below it, the print bed itself moves in line with the CAD design. It moves up, down, right, left, backwards and forwards, catching the extruder plastic in the right spot. Giving the material a consistently straight stream reduces the possibility of fracture massively.

Though, at the moment, the focus of the miniFactory 3 is on educational use, it is beginning to move into the consumer market. The company behind it was responsible for printing the first cover for the new smartphone from Finish communications company Jolla and a dual extruder version of the miniFactory 3 is in the pipeline.

EnvisionTEC improves its 3SP Line

At the Euromold show that took place in Frankfurt last week, EnvisionTEC added the latest machine to its excellent 3SP line. The Xede 3SP takes the technology displayed in the previous devices (which scanned, spun and selectively photocured) to the next level.

EnvisionTEC 3D printers

Boasting multi-cavity laser diode with an orthogonal mirror that spins at 20,000 rotations per minute, it can build objects all the way up to a stunning 18” x 18” x 18”. This means large objects with precise surface quality delivered at impressive, consistent speeds.

The model comes fitted with all the necessary software to keep your output’s quality high.

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