Created by Acuity Design of Montana, the Helix is a higher-grade personal 3D printer focusing on professional markets, unlike the countless other low-cost 3D printers appearing on Kickstarter that hope to address consumer needs.
While professional offices currently have commercial 3D printer options that range from USD$10-20K, that price, although lower than industrial 3D printers, is often more than can be afforded by the organization.
That's where the Helix comes in, as it is priced at a modest USD$6850 - but can be purchased now on Kickstarter for only USD$4750.
But what makes the Helix a "professional" unit, as compared to the so-called consumer 3D printers? Here's our take:
- No-slip extruders to reduce slips and jams
- Dual print heads for support material
- large 30L (1 cubic ft) build volume for larger prints
- No belts used for high precision and speed
- Ability to print unusual plastics such as Nylon, PETT, Polycarbonate
- Closed chamber to reduce ABS and Nylon warping
These are indeed features you wouldn't find on typical personal 3D printers. But the machine is a prototype and they're hoping to raise funds for production.
While the machine vision sounds brilliant, we're concerned that they may not reach their funding goal of USD$95K, as they're currently only about 1/3 of the way to the top. This is a pricey item, as it should be, and institutions may have difficulty committing to support for a brand new product.
We're hoping they do.