Can this startup’s $8,000 3D printer change the game?
While FDM and SLA technologies seems to be the most popular choice for desktop 3D printers at the moment, that may soon all change. That’s because one startup, founded by a trio of former Google employes, has announced a low-cost SLS machine dubbed the Sinterit Lisa.
Selective laser sintering is in a league of its own when it comes to yielding high-quality, high-definition results. These machines avoid the extrusion process entirely, and instead, construct objects by selectively solidifying very fine powder materials of nylon, layer by layer, using a laser. Unfortunately, as incredible as these devices may be, the cheapest SLS printer on the market today cost roughly $180,000 — that was up until now.
Sinterit’s impressive gadget resembles a PC tower decked out in vibrant colors like those iMac G3 computers from the late ‘90s. Leading up to its launch, the startup has kept themselves under the radar with a minimal website and have only shared a couple of detailed prints. Well, after several months of research and development, the team has finally debuted its affordable (in the scheme of SLS printers) device, which is targeted at small businesses and the Maker community.
As seen in a number of their sampled items, nylon SLS prints tend to be far more durable and sturdy than conventional FFF prints, and feature far smoother surfaces with intricate detail. The Sinterit Lisa’s 5W laser diode head enables users to create objects with a layer thickness of 0.06mm to 0.15mm and at a speed of 15mm/h.
It should be pointed out that the project has come a long way since its conception, having initially began with a prototype that its creators describe as a “laser on a RepRap.” In time, this has morphed into a full, self-contained ecosystem with Wi-Fi connectivity, its own polyamide powder material and custom software called Sinterit Studio 2016.
What’s more, once a 3D design has been sent to the Sinterit Lisa, the printer’s autonomous operating system handles it from there. Meanwhile, an internal camera module allows a user to observe the process. It is also capable of printing multiple file types, including STL, OBJ, 3DS and FBX.
Some of its key features include:
- Build volume: 13cm x 17cm x 13cm (5.1” x 6.7” x 5.1”)
- Print scan speed: Up to 500 mm/second
- Print bed temperature: Up to 180°C (356°F)
- Laser power: 5W
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi
The printer is expected to ship sometime in January 2016 and will be equipped with a heated multi-zone print bed, a heated feed bed and a heated cylinder. For the time being, the Sinterit Lisa can only accommodate black polyamide 12 powder as its printing material; however, the team notes that more colors and filaments will be made available soon.
Sound like a piece of machinery that you’d love to have on your Makerspace workbench? Head over to its official site here.