Until recently, virtually all consumer 3D printers for hobbyists utilized fused-filament fabrication (FFF) technology. The FFF process is low-cost, versatile, and relatively quick, but it doesn’t yield the best results. To get really high-quality models, stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers are the better choice. But most of the SLA 3D printers on the market in the past have been too expensive for hobbyists. Fortunately, affordable options have started popping up, and the SolidMaker SLA 3D printer is the newest model to hit the scene.
SolidMaker recently launched on Kickstarter, and the campaign has already raised more than twice its funding goal. Like all other SLA 3D printers, the SolidMaker creates three-dimensional objects by shining a laser into special polymer resin that hardens when it’s exposed to light. Because a laser is doing the job, SLA 3D printers can produce much finer detail and a far higher surface quality than FFF 3D printers. The resin is more expensive by volume that filament for FFF 3D printers, but the SolidMaker works with resin from third party manufacturers, ensuring that you have the ability to use whatever is the most affordable. SolidMaker also offers a variety of resin types to suit your specific applications.
There are two version of this 3D printer available: the SolidMaker and the SolidMaker Pro, which adds a 3.5″ touchscreen for control. Both have a print volume of 120x120x150mm, 3 micrometer X and Y axis accuracy, a layer thickness of 0.025–0.20mm, and a laser speed of up to 320mm/s. They are constructed from durable metal, and are compact enough to fit easily on your desktop. Using the included SolidPreform slicer software, you can customize and print any standard 3D STL files you find online or design in CAD yourself.
If you want a SolidMaker SLA 3D printer, the Kickstarter campaign is running until August 27th. Early birds can get the standard SolidMaker for $449, or the SolidMaker Pro for $599. Rewards are expected to be delivered in November.