Kickstarter has given birth to many affordable 3D printers and, as of late, resin-based printers are a hot topic. So just why is this?
Up until recently, the only affordable printers used a concept known as Fused Deposition Modelling, which involved squirting out a slightly-molten filament of ABS or PLA plastic much like toothpaste, with an extruder capable of moving accurately on the X and Y axis.
The advantages of FDM and the use of ABS are incredible build strength and low material cost, however, detail is lacking, with Z-accuracy of around 0.25mm and often a significant grain is apparent on the Z-axis.
Resin printers are mechanically simpler and the focus is primarily on the resin that the printer cures to form a model. The system itself typically involves thin layers of resin being exposed to light from a high-brightness projector (yes, the same kind as the one on your office desk!) or a laser. This offers consistent quality and, in the case of the soon-to-be-mentioned Form 1, a layer thickness as small as 25 microns is possible.
Resin itself is tricky and, under certain conditions can be a health hazard, isn't as strong as ABS and can take a while to fully solidify. As such, the material typically costs more to buy, with less choice over suppliers. However, it offers a key missing element that FDM printers can't provide and, that's the accuracy to produce high-detail models where the primary focus is to look pretty rather than to be functional.
This is where the Form 1 enters the picture, not as the first resin-based printer to be produced on Kickstarter however, the first printer to have some serious style behind its design.
This stylish little printer is capable of producing high-detail resin models at dimensions of up to 125 x 125 x 165 mm and managed to raise $800,000 in the project's first 24 hours, with funding currently up to $1,298,339.
Although the Form 1 team aren't too clear on final price, from Kickstarter rewards, it's looking as though the aim is to offer the printer at around $2,500, with resin costs of $139 per litre.
You have view the project's Kickstarter page here.