While it's still in the end stages of development, an Australian firm says their Elemental stereolithographic 3D printer is a major breakthrough in the technology.
According to Hardcotton, the builders of the Elemental, the secret is that their device features a patent-pending pressure control system to regulate resin levels within the tank as objects are being built.
Hardcotton is an Australian start-up founded in Canberra, Australia.
"Utilizing pressure control, Hardcotton has developed a 3D printer that employs SLA technology – but creates the 3D print without the use of a mechanical platform," said co-founder and CEO of Hardcotton, Scott Pobihun. "Because there are very few complex parts to be assembled in Elemental, we see this architecture as being the basis for the mass manufacture of 3D printers very soon."
There's a plan in the works for Hardcotton to launch the Elemental printer via a Kickstarter campaign later this year, and Pobihun says his company will offer the device to backers for somewhere in the neighborhood of $940 per machine.
Pobihun adds that as the pressure control system moves the printing material to or from the build area, it's the only 3D printer capable of operating by way of "resin suspension," a process where resin floats on top of a support material such as saline. This sounds very similar to last year's Canadian project, the Peachy, but the full details of Hardcotton's implementation are not yet known.
The Elemental will feature a 7.87" x 7.87" x 7.87" build chamber in a single control chamber configuration or 5.51" x 5.51" x 7.87" when used in a dual control chamber configuration.
Hardcotton says the creation of an object's first layer is done by curing resin onto the surface of a removable build platform, and then the pressure control system allows the flow of material from a control chamber within the vat into the build chamber to increase the level of the resin present.
"It really is amazing seeing something 3D printed. It is even more amazing when the print is done quickly, quietly and simply" says CEO Scott Pobihun. "Utilizing pressure control, Hardcotton has developed a 3D printer that employs SLA technology but creates the 3D print without the use of a mechanical platform."
Have you heard the news? 3D Printer World Expo is coming to Seattle.