Canadian $100 3D printer blows past crowd-funding goal
Saskatchewan’s Peachy Printer raises more than $350,000 within days of debut on Kickstarter.
A group of Canadian inventors, (operating under the company name Rinnovated Design), have blown past their modest funding goal of $50,000 with the promise of a 3D printer, called the Peachy Printer, that costs $100. Since posting the project to Kickstarter Canada, the group has raised more than $350,000 in only four days.
According to the project’s leader, Yorkton, Saskatchewan resident Rylan Grayston, the aim of the project is to make 3D printing affordable enough for anyone. Similarly oriented hobbyist or pro-summer printers, like the 3DSystems Cube or MakerBot’s Replicator, typically retail for $1,300 or more.
The Peachy Printer’s low cost largely stems from its unique lithographic process. Instead of a printer head or extruder moved on the x and y axes by motors, the Peachy Printer uses laser light reflected by two electro-magnetically controlled mirrors. The directed laser light then solidifies layer after thin layer of photo-sensitive liquid polymer.
To control the z-height of the object, the printer uses a drip system to slowly raise the level of the polymer within a fish tank-like build space; as each build layer cures, the object being printed is submerged under the rising liquid and the process repeats. By the end of the build, the final print has been suspended in a tank of the uncured polymer that acts like support material and can be reused for the next print job.
Similarly unconventional is the fact that the Peachy Printer doesn’t process .stl files directly. Instead, geometry created or imported into open-source 3D modeler, Blender, is output through the audio-out port of a computer sound card and transfers to the Peachy Printer via a standard stereo jack. By way of a Blender plug-in, geometry is converted to digital waveforms that control the Peachy Printer’s mirrors and thereby dictate where the laser will solidify the polymer for any given layer.
At present, the Peachy Printer is a rough but functional prototype but contributors who pledge $100 or more will receive a Peachy Printer kit for assembly. The developers’ hope to use the funding to refine the printer’s z-level drip system to attain higher resolutions and further polish the final product.