Desktop 3D printers may be cheaper these days, but they still aren’t an impulse purchase. Canadian startup Peachy Printer aims to change that.
Its new model, also called The Peachy Printer, currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, will be available as a kit of parts for just CAD $100.
Printing with liquid resin, not coils of solid polymer
Unlike conventional 3D printers such as those offered by MakerBot, or Pirate3D’s upcoming Buccaneer, The Peachy Printer doesn’t use fused filament fabrication.
Instead, it relies on photolithography, using a beam of light to cure a tank of light-sensitive resin into hard objects. Interestingly, 3D data is first converted into an audio signal used to control the beam.
Aimed at Blender users
The ethos of the project is resolutely open-source: the developer says that it will never close-source its hardware, and the software that runs the printer “will do so from Blender”.
That doesn’t exclude users of other 3D packages: the project’s Kickstarter page notes that Blender can import 3D models in most standard file formats, although obviously, that adds an additional conversion step.
Some assembly necessary
However, this feels like a printer for open-source enthusiasts, rather than the mass consumer market: while pre-assembled models will be available, that raises the price to CAD $400.
And the liquid photolithographic resin, while comparatively cheap, isn’t as convenient or easy to store as the rolls of polymer filament used in conventional 3D printers.
It’s also definitely an early-stage project: while the specs page lists the minimum wall thickness as 0.2mm, it’s fairly vague when it comes to print accuracy (“more R&D” is being conducted).
Similarly, we can’t find the build volume of the pre-assembled model – for the DIY version, you provide your own resin containers, so presumably it’s up to you.
And while the crowdfunding campaign includes a CAD $1,000 Pro option providing “best-quality parts” and “increased functionality”, the website currently doesn’t include a full spec list for the Pro version.
The developers are currently contributing to an ongoing thread on BlenderNation, which may answer some of those technical questions.
Due to ship late next year
It may not be as convenient as more conventional 3D printers, but The Peachy Printer is clearly a project a lot of people have been waiting for: the Kickstarter campaign hit its $50,000 funding goal inside a day.
Peachy Printer aims to begin shipping its first kits in July 2014. The early bird options have already gone, but you can still currently back one of the kits due to ship in September or October 2014.