Nov 20, 2015 | By Alec

Speed is the name of the game in the world of 3D printing, and unfortunately not in a good way. While 3D printing sounds cool when you explain it to the uninitiated, it’s always a bit embarrassing to reveal how long it actually takes to complete that pot planter. Solutions for speedy 3D printing are therefore always very popular, but no one is taking that to such extremes as a brand new 3D printer that has just launched on Kickstarter. Called the NX1, this is a resin 3D printer that reimagines SLA 3D printing – transforming it into Lubricant Sublayer Photocuring (LSPc) technology – and reaching top speeds of 1 cm per minute without sacrificing on the printing quality we’ve come to expect from SLA machines.

This fascinating concept – that if delivers on all promises is truly revolutionary – has been developed by Italian engineering startup Nexa3D. Based in Rome, it combines the powers of three veteran engineers: Gianni Zitelli, specialized in information technology, electronics , electrical engineering and energy, Luciano Tringali, a veteran with forty years’ worth of engineering experience and director at Enel Industry, and digital entrepreneur Andrea Denaro. Together, they have set out on a challenging path: to usher in the era of fast 3D printing.

And that, essentially, is what the NX1 is all about. ‘While everybody else was thinking about how to keep users happy as they waited hours and hours for their 3D objects to print, we focused on simply eliminating the wait times in the first place. Extreme speed, desktop design, high precision and smart features, make the NX1 different from any other 3D printer,’ the Italians say of their creation. Featuring a unibody and cool design, this is a desktop 3D printer that combines high quality engineering and a solid body with user-friendly, high quality and especially fast 3D printing. Drastically cutting down 3D printing times, from hours to minutes (with top speeds laying around an inch per three minutes), it can build while you drink coffee – now that’s a change from pressing print and going to sleep.

Key in that process is LSPc technology, or Lubricant Sublayer Photocuring – a new 3D printing technology developed over a course of two years of intensive researching. Aside from drastically speeding up 3D print times, this technology is also revolutionary for yielding extraordinary accuracy levels on the Z axis by avoiding layering in most sequences.

So how does it work? Well, as the Italian engineers explain, it is essentially a move away from the conventional bottom-up approaches used by DLP and SLA 3D printers. ‘LSPc™ interposes a transparent self-lubricating film between the bottom of the tank, the photo-curing resin and the light source. By gradually releasing a layer of oil, this enables the finished resin to solidify while suspended on the substrate. At the heart of system lies the oil, creating an inhibitor sublayer that allows the build platform to avoid the detachment of the layer newly formed,’ they explain. ‘Using a sequential partially continuous process for a perfect three-dimensional object formation; erasing completely the need to use an extraction tilting system as traditional technologies, and capable of giving rise to a continuous printing process.’

In a nutshell, this means freeing the objects from the build platform with this lubricating oil and therefore focusing the machine on formation speed,. Solidifying the resin layer-by-layer, it doesn’t require continuous refreshing and results in a steady growth process that is actually perceptible by the curious onlooker, as you can see in the clip below. Combined with an algorithm that optimizes the printing process according to the specific characteristics of the selected object, incredible speed is realized. The full printing stats can be found at the bottom of the page.

But aside from that technology, the NX1 also simply features solid engineering to ensure good results. ‘The motor in the heart of the machine imparts a central thrust force to a build platform, using four mechanical arms. This avoids any mechanical stress so as to deliver top-quality print accuracy and outstandingly high resolution,’ they explain. It thus doesn’t just look cool. The platform itself is anchored in place with magnets, and the build space is a respectable 120x90x200mm.

And to ensure that both hobbyists and professionals can get the most out of this machine, it is user friendly in every way. Of course, this means Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection options, and that is obviously present. But in part, their user-friendliness comes from solving the complicating refilling process common on other resin-based 3D printers. The solution? A simple cartridge system – simply slide the cartridge in the slot and the machine does the rest. They have also built Cleaning Cartriges that makes it easier than ever before to change resin types and colors.

The only downside to this resin solution is that you need to purchase their specific resins through their own webstore. ‘Our specific proprietary resin is an integral part of the LPSc technology. Other resins don't deliver anywhere near the same performance as ours and could actually damage your machine. Bear in mind, however, that the purchase price will be especially low compared with other mixes currently on the market. And the quality and variety are also top-notch,’ they say. While the online cartridge store isn’t yet online, they have stated that all will be filled with 0.75 L of resin, with a variety of colors and types coming soon – hard resins, flexible resins, castable resins and more. Each cartridge will cost around $90 USD plus shipping.

In short, it looks like the NX1 3D printer has it all and truly deserves to be called revolutionary. Not only does it deliver very respectable accuracy levels and has been designed with use by regular people in mind, it is simply going to be the fastest possible 3D printer you can find and that alone is enough to convince us. An early bird price tag of € 1,399 (shipping in March 2016) finally, completes this very attractive package. If interested, head over to Kickstarter here for more information.



Posted in 3D Printer



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Fabrizio Corace wrote at 11/24/2015 12:00:51 PM:

Looks amazing but how can I print hight quality projects? There will be a store where I can buy guaranteed projects for this type of printer? It would be great if I could print independently the busts of my favorite superheroes (like "the avengers"); it will be possible? Have you already planned? Anyway, great Job! ...a product for the end user is always a good idea. All the best for the young Nexa3D team.

Lucrezia wrote at 11/24/2015 9:38:17 AM:

I think the design is stunningly beautiful. Italian style!

Richard J. Mendell wrote at 11/24/2015 9:29:30 AM:

A really awesome and fast 3D printer. Remember Apple for the accuracy of the details. I wish NEXA good look with sales and to solve the patent misunderstanding.

Jack wrote at 11/24/2015 9:11:59 AM:

It seems this is very promising!

Vassilis wrote at 11/24/2015 8:30:41 AM:

As an individual and lover of technology I just hope to get this soon as based on the specs, the looks and the critics is one of a kind!

Paul wrote at 11/24/2015 6:21:27 AM:

Looks amazing. Finally a 3D printer you can truly use at home - and won't be ashamed to display in your living room

Paul wrote at 11/24/2015 6:18:09 AM:

Looks amazing. Finally a 3D printer you can truly use at home - and won't be ashamed to display in your living room.

NEXA3D wrote at 11/24/2015 12:24:44 AM:

You can find our position on intellectual properties on our Kickstarter campaign

Diego Castanon wrote at 11/22/2015 12:39:37 AM:

NEXA 3d is using a technology that does not belong to them to solicit funds on Kickstarter. As PCT registration number PCT/CA2015/050860 will prove, this is a technology first registered on April 30th ,2015 and it does not belong to them. As their published application number proves (Europe 102015000057527) their local application date is October 2015. It is not correct to use someone else’s idea to run crowd funding. Kickstarter should have the policy of verifying if someone is in fact the owner of an idea before allowing them to publish and accept other people’s money, which they will no doubt, have to return.

Jeremy wrote at 11/20/2015 10:31:21 PM:

Um..this company is infringing a patent. I saw an almost identical method in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Casper wrote at 11/20/2015 3:25:16 PM:

Looks promising, but no information on the resolution?

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