Designed by the crew at Australia-based startup Hardcotton, Elemental is the world’s first pressure controlled stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer.
Powered by an Atmel | SMART ATSAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, Elemental is destined to become one of the latest and greatest innovations in the consumer space thanks to its unique spin on 3D printing. The machine uses a patent-pending pressurization system to present a dynamic approach to once-traditional desktop SLA printing.
Whereas a vast majority of traditional devices rely upon a mechanical process to move a build platform away from the source of print production after each layer is printed, Elemental increases the volume of resin above the build platform. Once only found in low-end FDM machines, Makers will now be able to affordably create parts of complex geometries and intricate details necessary for professional grade design.
“We thought about what you need from a 3D printer before we thought about what we would develop,” a company rep writes.
By utilizing its pressure control technology, Elemental’s laser system can cure a layer of resin in a more accurate, efficient and quiet manner. According to Hardcotton, the first layer is cured onto the surface of the removable build platform in the center of the vat. The pressure control system enables the flow of material from one of the control chambers into the build chamber, thereby increasing the level of the resin by a certain, precise and extremely fine amount. The laser system then sets the next layer of resin to further create the object. This process is repeated until the object is completed.
“Pressure control provides an extremely high level of accuracy in printing layer upon layer during the print process,” the team explains. Impressively, 3DPrint.com notes that the entire process is extremely silent with no Z-axis movement, with no additional support needed, as the resin surrounding the printed object provides all the support required.
The Elemental features a build area of up to 200mm x 200mm x 200mm, Z control accurate to 1 micron, 24-bit XY control resolution (variable through software), a 405nm laser, along with a stand-alone SDcard and Bluetooth functionality.
Hardcotton CEO Scott Pobihun says the Elemental fills the gap between low-end hobbyist machines with limited resolution and expensive high-end printers.
“There are many low-end 3D printers on the market that don’t have the capability to truly produce the high quality prints you’re looking to achieve. And those high-end printers that are able to produce high resolution prints are complex to configure and use, as well as being expensive.”