Jun 25, 2015 | By Alec

Despite the fact that the number of available FDM 3D printers is increasing just about every week, many users are still eagerly eyeing other 3D printing technologies. After all, if you can choose between visible and invisible layers, who wouldn’t? While price has usually been the biggest drawback of those machines, there are several ongoing projects to make more affordable SLA and SLS 3D printers out there. And one of the first of them is finally coming out in the open, as Chinese company Zhuhai CTC Electronic Co. Ltd is about to unveil their Riverside Photocuring SLA 3D Printer at an upcoming expo in early July.

Zhuhai CTC Electronic, as you might know, is one of the more prominent 3D printer manufacturers in China, and their upcoming Riverside Photocuring 3D Printer is set to be unveiled at the Qingdao International Software Convergence & Innovation Expo 2015 in early July. While we will thus have to wait a few weeks, this printer is already looking like a very promising model indeed. First and foremost, its price is set to turn a few heads, as this SLA 3D printer is set to be marketed or $1,480 USD in North America and RMB13,800 in China, well in the FDM 3D printer price range.

And for that price, they promise to deliver a pretty good SLA 3D printer, even in comparison with the Form 1+. For while most SLA 3D printers feature a vulnerable resin plate with low level efficiency, this Zhuhai machine will reportedly be equipped with a resin plate with the longest longevity out there. Key in their approach to the resin place is a special thin film that acts as the plate’s medium (rather than a silicon gel). This effectively separates the resin and the base, and lasts for a long time before it needs to be replaced (months, rather than weeks), thus reducing the overall cost of use.

Aside from that, it will also work with liquid resins sensitive to the 405nm UV wavelength. It’s minimum layer thickness is reportedly 0.1 mm (less impressive than the more typical 0.025 mm), but its designers argue that you can hardly tell the difference. What’s more, they promise that this modification will greatly reduce printing time. Of course, it remains to be seen how this affects printing quality, but as He Siyi, Head of Public Relations at CTC Electronic explained, their goal was to bring SLA 3D printing to a far wider audience. ‘Our goal is to allow the designer to have access to an affordable and reliable tool and provide an all-new product-verification solution,’ He Siyi said.

This upcoming machine’s build space is a respectable 135mm x 135mm x 180mm, while Zhuhai promises that its software kit will be compatible with most of the commonly used CAD programs to ensure easy use. The software kit itself will reportedly include a custom slicing program and a high performace operating system based on Cura and Repetier Host, in tandem with the CTC Riverside proprietary firmware that controls positioning and the laser.

And the best news is that we won’t have to wait too long before its release. Being unveiled in July, shipping through eBay and Amazon will begin that same month. Initial markets are the US, the EU, China and Australia.

The full specifications are:

  • Molding technology: SLA
  • Operating system: Repetier-Host
  • Slicing software: Cura
  • Firmware: CTC Riverside 1.0
  • Printing supplies: liquid light-sensitive resin
  • Print size: 135 x 135 x 180mm
  • Print layer thickness: 100micrometers (minimum)
  • Document format: STL
  • Printer overall dimensions: 35 x 38 x 55cm
  • Weight: 10 kg
 

 

 

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Chris wrote at 6/29/2015 9:09:31 PM:

Seriously people... Don't you know Form 1 ripped off 3D Systems IP to create their printer. That was why they were sued and settled. That is why Form 1 has an 8% royalty now on each unit after being sued by 3D Systems Using your logic no one should have ever bought a Form 1 either.

Alec yuserf wrote at 6/27/2015 10:15:55 AM:

I think riverside is what I need based on CTC good reputation.

Unique-3D wrote at 6/26/2015 12:38:52 AM:

This is the wife of Bender from Futurama.

-Tj- wrote at 6/25/2015 8:54:47 PM:

A lot of those parts look suspiciously like a Form 1+. The button, the screen and shape of that area, the build platform, the resin tank (albeit an older version), the Z axis column, even the resin tank parts. Maybe they have something different from the photos, but this looks like a knock-off Form 1, or the prototype they have is actually a Form 1 that's been "reconfigured" somehow, and they plan to ultimately make something similar but out of their own parts.

Rich wrote at 6/25/2015 4:59:53 PM:

Interesting considering CTC's last SLA printer was just a straight rip off of the Form 1. They even used the Form 1 software. Everyone should boycott anything from the IP thieves. Do some research and you will see how they stole Formlabs IP.



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