Autodesk and Sinterit announced Netfabb support for the startup company’s inexpensive SLS 3D printer, opening a window for increased access to the powerful 3D printing process.
SLS is one of the more notable 3D printing processes, having been popularized by 3D Systems over the years with their powerful line of SLS 3D printers. The process involves using a laser to selectively sinter layers of plastic powder together to form solid 3D objects.
The process or processes similar have been used by other companies, including EOS, who currently make what might be the most popular models used for SLS 3D printing.
But there’s one issue with those SLS machines: they are quite expensive.
That’s where Sinterit comes in. The company last year announced the “Lisa”, a relatively inexpensive desktop SLS 3D printer, capable of 3D printing strong, high quality nylon objects, much like its larger competitors.
Their pricing was certainly more than you’d pay for common desktop 3D printers, at over USD$10,000 per unit, but it’s vastly less than what you might pay EOS or 3D Systems for SLS-like 3D printers.
But this week Sinterit took a very strategic step by arranging for Autodesk to include the Sinterit Lisa as a supported system in its popular Netfabb 3D print management tool.
Yes, you could run the Sinterit Lisa before this announcement, but when you can also do so from Netfabb, it makes things a lot easier for exactly the type of client Sinterit is looking for: clients with existing 3D printers that are seeking less expensive alternatives.
Such clients likely have a workflow process that involves using a variety of software, and quite possibly Netfabb. If so, adding a Sinterit Lisa would minimize the training requirements for their operators, who could simply continue to use Netfabb- just on a new machine.
Don’t underestimate the effect of this; decisions in big companies are made on not only the cost of hardware, but also on the cost of software and labor involved in any proposal. This maneuver reduces two of those three factors, possibly significantly.
It’s good news for Sinterit, who will likely sell additional Lisa units as a result. But that’s also good for everyone as the overall price for SLS 3D printing may begin to drop.