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3D printers have come a long way since the early days of RepRap and DIY hacker culture. First they flew to great heights with companies like Makerbot and Formlabs who aimed to create a prosumer product for designers, educators, and makers and then they fell to the doldrums when they became commodity hardware. Many people believed the space was dead.
Now, however, the Polish 3D printing company, Zortrax, has released their Inkspire UV LCD printer, a $2,000 SLA printer that offers the speed and quality of resin-based printers with the fit and finish of a carefully-designed piece of hardware.
Inkspire - Works - Blast - UV - Resin
The Inkspire works by shooting a bright blast of UV light through photosensitive resin. The printer creates object layer by layer at a resolution and quality that you’d never achieve with traditional extrusion printers. The Inkspire is so precise it can print a 50x50x25 micro cube yet it can also build larger objects that look completely smooth.
Like other so-called stereo lithographic (SLA) printers, the resin is tricky to work with. The printer works with nearly any resin that cures under 405 nm wavelength length light so you don’t have to use Zortrax’s products. That said, the objects that come out of this printer are fairly difficult to “finish,” primarily because they stay sticky for a while until they finish curing in direct sunlight. The uncured resin itself is also quite sticky and messy so this printer definitely requires some sort of separate workshop with a slop sink and room for the printer and ultrasonic cleaner. You can use this in a home office or other enclosed space but you’ll want to keep the windows open and gloves on your hands.
Items - Parts
That said, once the items are washed, cured, and dry they are almost indistinguishable from injection-molded parts.
The $2,000 printer comes with the...
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