That's certainly the goal, Naperlou, athough not there yet. This printer is interesting because it fits in that low-cost enough category that folks might buy one for home, but yet seems to have more of the robust capabilities for designing parts and models on a professional grade. Also, has some pretty impressive backing, including Mitch Kapor who was the original guy behind Lotus 1-2-3, the program that took PC spreadsheets to the mainstream.
Can any one tell me what is the exact difference between rapid prototying machines and a 3D printer? we are already using RPT machines for making new products and the materials which we are using mostly are somos resin or duraform. is 3d printing is advanced than RPT?
I think the biggest difference, from what can see, is the scale and scope. Traditionally, rapid prototyping machines have been huge and highly complex, often run as a bureau within a company with their own staff. Materials choices and production methods are also different and we're talking really expensive--hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In contrast, 3D printing is typically the term used for the lower cost, more office friendly systems that employ a more limited choice of materials and are geared more towards the fast output of designs for validation and optimization, not necessary for production-ready models.
The idea of a 3D printer / rapid prototype machine (the difference is purely semantic in my view) in my home is an exciting development that I'm looking forward to.... but I'm not at all sure that handling liquid resins is something that I want to do in my home office. At work, I've gone with the Stratasys FDM system, which doesn't achieve this level of fine detail but does use real ABS material and is completely clean in operation. We use this machine in the office, and shop out work that requires a messier process. To have a machine in my home, it would have to be clean and not present materials disposal challenges.
There are a dozen 3d printers on the market, MakerBot is the latest high volume, sub $2500.00 range. Desk top printers range from $250K for a 4 media 12" by 12" by 9 " machine to the Makerbot machine. This is a welcome entry, the resolution is acceptable at 1 mil. A search of 3D printers returns amazing ranges of hardware, check out Maker Faire. ObJet has the most impressive bang fort the Buck, 4 color, soft molding for outer bumper, under $250K. The field is opening up to be the next Apple quickly.
Weldon, Formlabs hasn't offered a price yet. They do suggest a price for the materials, at $149/liter. Depending on the solid volume of your part, you might get somewhere between 1 and 50 parts per liter. I suspect the printer will be in the $5K-$10K range, based on my experience as a robotics system mfg. Prices may be lower, given that Kickstarter is funding their IP development so they don't have to recoup those costs.
I haven't donated yet, but intend to. If they do their job right, they're going to crush the 3D printer industry.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.