Sculptify has an innovation in desktop 3D printing you might want to check out.
Called 'David,' it uses pellets rather than the filament we've come to expect and while it doesn't seem cheap, it might help to consider what you get for the money.
The David can take pellets of various materials and print with them directly. Sculptify plans to offer those pellets in nine different materials: PLA, ABS, TPU, EVA, HIPS, HDPE, Nylon, PC and Wood Composite. The last five of those are expected to be available once the company finishes fully optimizing them for the device.
The company says the Sculptify brand of PLA or ABS will be priced at $18 per kg. That's around 50 percent below the price of similar spool filament, and Sculptify says there won't be any effort made to lock customers into using their branded pellets.
The retail price will be $3,195, putting it at the high end of the consumer market, but 'early bird' backers can purchase this innovative 3D printer for as low as $2,745.
"There are certain grades, sizes, and shapes (of pellets) that are optimal for use with David, and there are some that simply won't work with the system. Because of this, pellets will also be available through the Sculptify store to give those who don't want to experiment proven material options for everyday printing," say the Sculptify developers.
If their project is fully-funded, the team says manufacturing the machine will begin in Columbus, Ohio, with a target date of March of next year for the first shipments.
They call the technology FLEX (Fused Layer Extrusion), and say that the process was "inspired by proven technology from the plastics industry, but with new features and innovations that make it great for 3D printing."
Sculptify says that printing with pellets prevents issues which might arise when using filament-ready 3D printers like poor tolerances, air bubbles, and contamination. The process is undergoing testing and optimization of new materials, and the David can now print soft and flexible materials, like TPU and EVA, standard hard materials, like PLA and ABS, and "some interesting composites, like wood."
The exterior of the device is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and then anodized for a long-lasting finish, and the side and rear windows are made from virtually unbreakable polycarbonate to give users a good look at a particular print from every angle during output.
The five team members of Sculptify have, in just 16 months, taken their concept from drawings through eight iterations to a point they say is ready for mass-production, and they accomplished the feat in "a couple small basements in Columbus, OH." The David is nearly mass-production ready, and the team says their Kickstarter campaign proceeds will be used to lease a design and assembly facility in Central Ohio where all engineering, design, and assembly will take place in-house.