Jul 31, 2017 | By Benedict

Cypriot 3D printer manufacturer Ilios has lifted the lid on its Thermal Masking technology, which can purportedly be used to 3D print Stereolithography (SLA) models at 1/10 the normal cost. The technology has been incorporated into the forthcoming €250 ($294) Ilios Nano SLA 3D printer.

Ilios says its Thermal Masking tech can result in cheaper SLA 3D printing

Ilios, the Cyprus-based 3D printer manufacturer founded by engineer Demetris Zavorotnitsienko, has endured an up-and-down year. After announcing its closure in December 2016, Ilios swiftly returned with a new 3D printer in February 2017, and now appears to be as active as ever.

Its latest creation, which Zavorotnitsienko calls “Thermal Masking technology,” is billed as “a completely new way of printing SLA models,” and apparently costs just 1/10 of alternative methods.

The SLA 3D printing technology technology consists of three main aspects.

The first of these aspects is a VAT glass coating which, according to Ilios, “is what masks UV light upon exposure.”

The second is a thermal print head that interacts with the coated glass surface and determines the resolution of the exposed layer as well as the print speed.

The third aspect concerns the cooling of the glass surface during and after exposure to ensure that the masked surface “stays visible long enough for the UV light source to cure the SLA material before moving on to the next layer.”

Design and specs for the Ilios Nano 3D printer

“By using Thermal Masking we are able to cut costs dramatically while still producing crisp and detailed layers while exposing them to the default 405nm UV light source,” Zavorotnitsienko explains. “No DLP projections, LCD screens, or laser assemblies are needed and the materials are minimized dramatically to produce the final result.”

The technology can be found in Ilios’ Nano SLA 3D printer, which is available for €250 ($294). There are currently no images available of the machine.

Zavorotnitsienko admits that the Nano is a budget machine, containing components like “encoded DC motors, affordable spindles, and other parts which when combined produce an affordable package.”

With better components, Thermal Masking technology could purportedly be taken much further.

“The accuracy of the Ilios Nano does not represent the full capabilities of the Thermal Masking technology and can be implemented in much more accurate assemblies to produce much more detailed results at a 10th of the price of traditional SLA 3D printing products,” Zavorotnitsienko claims.

At present, it seems like the Ilios founder doesn’t have the means to make a higher-quality machine containing better parts. But that situation could change with the right investment.

“With funding and more research this could be the optimal technology to use in future 3D printing products and has great potential for expansion and alteration,” the Ilios founder says.

Other 3D printers available from Ilios include the Ilios Beam and Ilios Photon 2.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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