@Bobblehead: Thanks for the very informative response. Would the Form1 or any of these lower cost 3D printers be something you might consider investing in for home use or for workshop use? I'd say given your experience with additive manufacturing and 3D printing on the job, you are one of their target customers!
There are several additive fabrication processes and printer models within those process categories.
STL (stereo lithography) often results in a much higher-resolution part in a weaker material.
It is no competition for laser or electron beam sintering of titanium, or even nylon powders, for part strength.
Its output is single-material/color.
As with all STL printers, models must be designed to facilitate draining and cleaning off the unpolymerized resin.
It is a 'wet' process with post-processing/cleanup/disposal required.
Monomer resins are fairly reactive and often allergenic.
The possible presence of metals as catalysts must be considered.
This product is not a 'killer', since it can only cover a limited sector of the additive fabrication industry.
Don't be drawn in by such exhortations as 'now overhangs can be printed' - this capability has been around in 3D printing processes for a long time.
But it LOOKS capable and well-integrated within its niche.
I would place its output mostly in the 'display model', 'molding form', and 'functional modeling' target areas.
In my prototyping and short production run work I use FDM (fused deposition modeling) parts straight out of the printer with practically no post-processing required. These are around 80% as strong as injection-molded ABS parts, but they don't have the resolution and finish that STL can produce.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.