Aug 31, 2017 | By Tess

Taiwan 3D printer manufacturer Layer One seems to have something new up its sleeve, something that certainly has us intrigued. Known primarily for its delta-style Atom FDM 3D printing systems, the company claims to be developing a new 3D printer which would combine both FDM and stereolithography (SLA) in a single machine.

Dubbed the Atom 3, the upcoming 3D printer is being developed to offer users a compact and convenient way to 3D print both large and small, carefully detailed parts.

As the company explains, while FDM printing is well suited for producing robust, functional components and prototypes, it often falls short when printing fine details. This has meant that applications such as jewelry making, which require small parts, have relied mostly on SLA 3D printing to achieve high-resolution and precision.

Makers that require a range of 3D printing capabilities therefore have to shell out lots of money for wholly separate systems in order to meet their both robust and finer 3D printing needs.

"Even with our ultra-rigid design and a 0.2 mm nozzle, it’s impossible to achieve super high detail with FDM, no matter how hard you try. SLA is the only way we can offer this capability to our customers," explained Lawrence Lee, founder and CEO of Layer One.

The Atom 3 is being developed to meet these demands and is aiming to offer 3D printing enthusiasts an accessible way of having it all, so to speak.

Layer One says it has leveraged the strength of its delta 3D printing system’s sturdy Z-axis to combine FDM and SLA processes in one modular machine.

“SLA machines require a very sturdy Z (vertical) motion system, and delta’s provide that better than the conventional cantilever system,” said Lee. “Of course, there will be challenges to designing a user-friendly module versus a standalone machine, but we accept them gladly.”

While most details about the hybrid 3D printer are still under wraps, Layer One has hinted that its Atom 3 system will work by having a modular build plate which a resin reservoir can be affixed to, and which can move on magnetic control arms for SLA printing.

A few other details we got from Layer One about the Atom 3 prototype include a build volume of 65 x 120 x 250 mm, and a layer thickness of 25 to 100 microns. The SLA system will be based on LCD-Stereolithography technology.

For those itching to learn more about Layer One’s hybrid 3D printer, you’ll have to be patient, as the Taiwan-based company says the Atom 3 will only be ready to ship out as of next year. For now, these photos of the printer and test prints will have to suffice.



Posted in 3D Printer



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