Today Stratasys announced a new FDM 3D printer for designers, architects and other professionals - but it's very different from anything you've seen before. It includes a couple of revolutionary features that we're certain you'll find very interesting.
The Mojo 3D printer is more like a 2D paper printer than anything we've seen. The USD$9,900 device is approximately the size of a large personal laser printer, about half the size and weight of Stratasys' previously smallest device, the uPrint. At only 27Kg (50 lbs) and 63 x 45 x 53 cm (25 x 18 x 21 inches), the Mojo must be one of the smallest commercial 3D printers available.
The most noticeable aspect of the Mojo is ease of use. Stratasys has vastly simplified several key user interaction points, both in hardware and software.
Swapping filament is done by lifting a cartridge (now called a "Print Engine") into one of two chambers in the machine. Attaching filament is massively easier in the Mojo, since the Print Engine now includes the print head right on the end of the filament. You need only insert the print head into the extruder assembly and you're done. No mess, no filament cutting, no need to mush out leftover filament - the entire filament path is now part of the Print Engine. They've been able to manage this by ingeniously locating the extruder assembly above the heated build chamber so it isn't subject to massive heating and cooling. Empty print engines, which include the extruder motor, are recyclable through Stratasys.
Software is simplified. The Mojo is controlled by a USB-attached dedicated PC, through which networked users can access the machine. The user interface is also simplified and includes a "Wizard" with easy-to-comprehend graphics that illustrate operator decisions as well as simplifying job control for multiple copies: If you specify more copies than can fit on a build tray, it automatically sets up a new job for you!
The USD$9,900 Mojo system includes not only the printer itself, but also a starter kit of print engines for material and a new small-sized cleaning system to remove support structures.
The Mojo has a smallish build size of 5 inches on a side (127 x 127 x 127 mm), but Stratasys says a statistical analysis indicated some 80% of prints on their machines would fit within this volume. We tend to agree with this approach. Besides, larger prints take much longer to complete.
Mojo has excellent layer resolution: 0.17mm (0.007 inches), so we expect very smooth-looking prints. For some reason Stratasys permits only Ivory colored ABSplus plastic on this device, but perhaps more colors will be offered in the future.
Only solid printing is permitted, ensuring very strong printed parts, but also using more material. The software does not provide an option to select a density percentage. This means more material will be used, but to compensate Stratasys has increased the capacity of the Print Engines to 80 cubic inches of material, compared to only 30 cubic inches in the uPrint cartridges.
The price of a Print Engine is USD$399 for 80 cubic inches, indicating a unit price of slightly under USD$5 per cubic inch.
The Mojo isn't available yet, but it ships on June 15th. Stratasys is expecting to sell quite a few of them, and we wouldn't be surprised if that happens.