We talk a lot about 3D printing because it’s an exciting new field. For instance, it was just two days ago that we featured the MakerBot Replicator 2, a pretty decent upgrade on the original device. But it turns out that as cool as the Replicator 2 is with its new 100 micron resolution, it’s got nothing on the FORM 1 that you see above. This machine is able to print objects with layers 25 microns thin, allowing for a level of detail that is just not possible with the technology the Replicator uses. See, most printers on the market these days print by layering extruded plastic over and over in as precise a manner as possible. The “resolution” everyone talks about is how thin this extruded line of melted plastic is. But the FORM 1 uses a completely different method, instead relying on stereolithography, which involves shooting a laser at a resin, which instantly hardens at the focal point. This laser then builds the object up, creating virtually smooth objects of a complexity that’s impossible to achieve with other printers.
Normally this type of 3D printing involves machines that cost six figures, but “a group of recent grads from the MIT Media Lab have managed to replicate the process for a fraction of the cost.” The FORM 1 is currently on pre-order on Kickstarter for the relatively decent sum of $2,500. And yes, they’ve reached their funding goal of $100k… five times over. On launch day.
Hit the jump for some sample pictures and links.