Nov.18, 2014 | By Alec

Could it be that the dawn of the affordable SLS 3D printer is finally here? Just yesterday, we reported on Brandon Fosdick's plans to turn his very affordable and very impressive homemade SLS 3D printer into a marketable product. But before his Indiegogo campaign is ready to launch, we've already learned of a Polish start-up that is working to release their very own professional, but affordable SLS 3D printer. Is the FDM 3D printer already outdated?

We're obviously not trying to critique FDM 3D printing technology. Those desktop printers are absolutely wonderful machines for anyone looking for a creative outlet or anyone looking to prototype a clever or fun idea.

But it's indisputable that industrial Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printers are in a league of their own when it comes to high-quality results. For those of you who don't know, SLS 3D printers avoid extrusion printing entirely, and instead creates objects by selectively solidifying very fine powder materials using a laser. But you pay the price for it: industrial grade SLS 3D printers can cost up to and over $1 million, while even the 'budget' versions can cost you as much as $100,000. For now, FDM 3D printers are clearly the go-to machines for anyone seeking to experiment with 3D printing.

With projects like these, however, that could be changing in the near future. Just like Brandon Fosdick, the trio behind Polish start-up SinterIt is aiming to release the first professional and affordable SLS 3D printer. And what's more, they've already completed an extensive prototyping phase and have reached a point where they can actually print objects.

SinterIt is an initiative of three experienced engineers; Paul, Konrad and Michal, who have chosen to reveal very little about themselves for now. Their website is also little more than just a small preview of what's to come. But they assured us that they have years of experience working as engineers for Google and ABB, and have extensively worked on hardware optimizations, 3D graphics development and software development in the past.

For them, moving towards 3D printer construction was a logical next step, and they quickly realized that SLS printing technology was far more potent than FDM 3D printing: 'SLS technology has much less usage limits than printing from plastic wire (FDM) or using plastic liquid (SLA). This technology is the best solution for printing prototypes or small batches of high quality objects.'

Furthermore, they feel that their nylon SLS prints will be far more durable and sturdy than FDM prints, and will also feature far smoother surfaces. And as the pictures suggest, their quality is impressive. The little dragon's hands have a diameter of just 1.5 mm, while the book is just 23mm x 50mm x 8mm and features flexible pages that can actually be written on.

After more than a year of researching, construction and prototyping, they have now reached an important point: 'we are proud to announce being in the last stage of prototyping. This makes our idea the closest to reality it has ever been.' Practically, they are aiming to release an SLS 3D printer that prints objects at a relatively high level of detail using nylon 12 powder.

And what's more, they have claimed that the latest technological innovations have allowed them to keep prices remarkably low: 'Currently, the cheapest SLS printer on the market costs more than 180,000 USD. Our goal is to make advanced 3D printing technology more accessible. By saying that, we mean, that our product will cost 5000 USD with no compromises in printing quality.'

Practically, this means that the printer will be quite a bit smaller than industrial level SLS 3D printers (it will feature a print bed of 150mm x 150mm x 200mm), but they promise the quality of the prints won't suffer. If they truly deliver on that level, $5000 will be very cheap indeed. They're aiming for a release in the first half of 2015, and we can't be the only ones anxiously waiting for the actual product. While it probably won't make FDM 3D printers outdated, it does certainly look like a welcome addition to the making community.

These are the full specifications of the SinterIt 3D printer, as shared by SinterIt:

  • printing with powder in any color at high speed
  • print bed size of 150mm x 150mm x 200mm (5.9 x 5.9 x 7.6 in)
  • print scan speed up to 500 mm/s (19.6 in / s)
  • print bed temperature up to 180 Celsius degrees (356 F)
  • fully assembled
  • controlled over WiFi
  • printing powder price under 100$ per 1 kg (2.2 lbs)

Posted in 3D Printers


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Anna wrote at 11/20/2014 4:36:43 PM:

Drukowane z mąki?

Ann wrote at 11/20/2014 4:34:03 PM:

Drukowane z mąki?

Wojtek wrote at 11/19/2014 7:57:37 AM:

Sintratec offer kit of SLS printer for 5k$, fully assembled printer will cost 10k$.

Genia wrote at 11/19/2014 2:35:48 AM:

"no compromises in printing quality" Yeah. Sure. You can see it in a photos :)

ledhed wrote at 11/18/2014 10:00:23 PM:

Sintratec already unveiled a $5000 nylon sintering printer.

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