3D printed phone case using the powder-based, 3DPandoras printer (via kickstarter)
A small start-up company, Global Trend Trading Technology, has released a campaign on Kickstarter that has almost reached it's goal with only 17 days left. The company has developed a prosumer powder-based 3D printer, which they are calling 3DPandoras. 3DPandoras is able to print in full-color and in higher resolution than plastic-extrusion or FMD printers. However, this luxury comes at a cost. The early bird specials start at $2999 for the first 20 printers, then go up to $3699. The rest of the deals start from $5000 and up, with special perks like branding to go with the cost.
For a consumer marketed product, this 3D printer is significantly more expensive than plastic extruder printers like Solidoodle and Cube 3. However, the printing resolution is high and it is significantly cheaper than manufacturing grade powder-based 3D printers, which cost in excess of $10,000.
In fact, if you are a prosumer and want a high-quality 3D printer for your personal or business needs, buying early on Kickstarter is the best deal, as 3DPandoras is expected to retail at $10,000 after the launch next May. Yep. That is quite a hit to the pocketbook. Still, this could be good value for the functionality, if it does what it promises.
Powder-based printers allow more functionality as it uses powder and curing agents to create layers. After you finish your 3D print, they highly recommend you dip it in a curing and hardening agent (which they have formulated) for 20 seconds to ensure your print doesn't turn into dust and break easily. Utilizing this method, 3DPandoras has been able to create a full-color 3D printer using CMYK ink technology using their formulated powders. They say that they have worked 6 years getting the perfect powder and curing formulas right, so we'll just have to take them at their word. The 3DPandora is the 6th generation in their line, so we'll also hope that they've worked the kinks out.
The resolution on offer is highly more than a plastic extrusion or FMD printer which usually prints at a resolution of 0.1 mm per layer. The 3DPandora reports to print at a resolution of 0.8 mm per layer in full-color. Because it is powder-based, there is no need to 3D print structures to hold the print in place as it's being printed. Hence, the design process is streamlined, and can offer a greater success rate, so long as you cure it properly after it's printed. 3DPandora can 3D print objects up to 11.8 x 11.5 x 5.5 inches. To see their promo video and campaign, visit their Kickstarter page.
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