3D printers are getting cheaper and cheaper all the time. Unfortunately, the cheap 3D printers aren't that great with printing high-resolution models. More often that not, creators will have to sand down 3D printed objects to get smooth ridges and edges. One company is attempting to offer high resolution desktop 3D printers at half the price of traditional models.
Formlabs, a startup 3D printer company, has created a Kickstarter for the Form 1 printer. They describe the machine as "an affordable, high-resolution 3D printer for professional creators." The company is looking for $100,000 to fund the project. People have already pledged $86,951 with 29 days to go in the campaign.
So, how high is the resolution of the Form 1 3D printer? The team claims that their printer can print layers as thin as 25 microns with features as small as 300 microns. They're able to do this by ditching the extruded plastic method of low-end 3D printers. Instead, the Form 1 uses stereolithography, which uses a laser to draw on a layer of liquid plastic resin. Check it out for yourselves:
The Form 1 is more expensive than other cheap 3D printers, but it's significantly cheaper than stereolithographic 3D printers. Those interested in 3D printers can get one via Kickstarter for for the relatively low price of $2,299. The full set with 1L resin, and a Form Finish Kit will set you back $2,699.
There's been an abundance of 3D printers showing up on Kickstarter lately. All of these companies are also producing the hardware here in the U.S. It's a sign that manufacturing is coming back to the U.S., but in amazing new industries. It's a shame that 3D printing isn't getting the recognition it deserves as the next great American innovation.