updated 07:53 pm EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
Low-budget 3D printer uses Stereolithography
A new 3D printer has more than quadrupled its initial target on its first day on Kickstarter. The Form 1 from Formlabs had an original target of $100,000, and currently stands at over $400,000 with 29 days of the Kickstarter campaign left to go. Instead of the extruded plastic used by other low-budget printers such as the Makerbot Replicator, the Form 1 opts to use Stereolithography (SL).
SL is claimed to be the "gold standard" for 3D printing, capable of attaining a high level of accuracy and resolution. The process works through a laser firing at the surface of a liquid plastic resin. The resin hardens, and as the layers progress, the model is pulled out of the remainder by a rising ceiling. While the quality of the printed object far exceeds current extruded methods, the cost of a commercial SL-based system is prohibitive.
The Form 1 appears in Kickstarter bundles from $2,300 and upwards. In comparison, the Makerbot Replicator costs between $1,750 and $2,200, depending on the version.