Kickstarter has at least twenty projects related to 3D printing – companies, plastics, design tools as well as printers.
The creators of the FORM 1 printer are among this group. They are also a stand out in the crowded space of 3D printing:
- FORM 1 uses stereolithography instead of extrusion or reductive printing. A laser activates the polymer material and hardens it into the desired shape. This method typically offers far more detail than extrusion (Makerbot) printing
- they are designed by a team that has origins with the MIT Media Lab
- FORM 1’s Kickstarter goal of $100,000 has been funded to $2,945,885
- promised deliver dates in 2013
It looks like their product is on its way to reality. If so, the idea of low-cost, hi-res, desktop stereolithography in the classroom is intriguing. While our classroom Makerbot has become a core asset to our work it’s not uncommon for users to comment on perceived low quality.
A quick scan of their FAQ’s does make me wonder how the FORM 1 would fit in an active classroom setting. Here are questions I will answer in a future blog post:
- how much monitoring does the FORM 1 need? I’m sufficiently confident in the Makerbot to let it run all night.
- does the detail come at a significantly longer print run?
- are their environmental concerns with the resin – either use or excess? I was able to to integrate the Makerbot right into my classroom without need for extra ventilation.
Stay tuned for more on this intriguing new entry into the low cost 3D printing space.