At CES we were taken to a secret side room to see a prototype of a new 3Dwox 3D printer.
Korea-based Sindoh is behind the 3Dwox, which we recently tested in our lab. We found the machine to produce incredibly good output at a very reasonable cost, but now it seems the company is already working on an improved model.
The new model isn’t actually a new model. It’s merely an engineering prototype to test some new features that may show up in a future production model. However, the machine does provide some very strong hints as to what to expect in the future.
Mechanically the prototype is pretty much the same as the original model, and the differences are found in three places:
- The internal processor on a new control board has been significantly sped up, moving from dual to quad-core processing
- A much larger color touch screen is moved to the top of the machine
- A cloud service that connects with the machine to provide a variety of services
The increased processor capacity enables many things, not the least of which is increased real time motion control. The new chip can also power the larger touch screen and provide an even easier-to-use interface, as you can see here.
The cloud service permits remote viewing through the internet of active printing through the 3Dwox’s internal camera, which previously could only be done if on the same LAN. You can also control the print operations.
The touch screen also provides a platform for a number of applications, which have been made as a partnership with Astroprint. You can, for example, view your Astroprint library on this touch screen, as well as downloading 3D models from other places such as Thingiverse. This is made possible by use of the Kinoma iOT development toolkit, which enables creation of apps on multiple platforms. Note that the touch screen also shows a video view of the ongoing print operation!
At this time, the new interface does not yet provide an ability to manipulate the 3D models, such as rotation, sizing etc, but it seems clear this is something that will be added.
Evidently Sindoh’s priorities here are to first add the cloud features, and then focus on increasing performance, as enabled by the new processor. We were told that the new chip is sufficiently powerful to slice 3D models if required, which would be a very interesting feature: imagine sending your STL directly to the printer, without slicing at all!
But again, this is only a prototype and we will have to wait for Sindoh to announce a final production version, likely sometime this year. In the meantime, you might consider buying one of the original 3Dwox printers, which are excellent.