The team at Radiant Fabrication think "anyone and everyone should be free to create things using a 3D printer."
To that end, they've created a 3D printer which they hope will free users from the need for extensive training, experience, or for that matter, a ton of patience to operate and create 3D printed objects.
As users of 3D printers themselves, the folks at Radiant say they were frustrated with the way most printers get from A to B on the road to a finished output. They say the current process is "more like historic commercial printing presses than the word processors and printers that helped move 2D printing into the home and office."
Their goal is to streamline the end-to-end process.
They say the Lionhead, a scanner which connects directly to their 3D modeling software (Radiant Li) is easy to use and was inspired by video game interfaces. Radiant says their process is simple enough for children to grasp, and also includes tools that enable experienced users to produce models quickly.
The top-of-the-line Lionhead features eight printheads, and the less ambitious Lionhead Bunny uses four printheads. Radiant says using multiple printheads means both machines can print more material faster and use different materials simultaneously.
The list of features includes:
- Adjustment Free Filament Drive – No need to play around with springs, set screws or other troubling mechanisms.
- Automatic Calibration – Automatic calibration for the printing and scanning positions, a simplified mechanism does away with the traditional 2nd horizontal axis and uses rotation instead.
- Tweak-Free Software for Better Prints – Li and the Lionhead were developed together so that the software provides the best possible print quality.
- Plastic Spool Holders – The spool holders are part of the case, and they say that design allows the spools to rotate as the plastic filament is pulled into the printheads.
- Carbon Air Filter – The Lionhead uses food-safe PLA as a printing material and a replaceable carbon filter on the air exhaust is included to cut down on odors and other emissions from the 3D printing process.
The machines are driven by Parallax Semiconductor controller boards and use the Parallax Propeller as the brains of the Lionhead circuit board. It's an eight-core microcontroller and its parallel architecture does the work of controlling the various motors, monitoring temperatures, watching calibration switch states, and communication with the user's computer.