NewPro3D has released their NP1 3D printer to the market.
We first saw the Vancouver-based 3D printing startup a few years ago at CES (when CES was a thing for 3D printing, anyway). At the time they exhibited an unusual resin 3D printer that could print extraordinarily quickly.
Their secret to speed was the development of a new membrane that prevented newly printed layers from sticking to the bottom of the resin tank. Most resin 3D printers use a “laser through the tank bottom” approach, but typically the newly solidified material sticks not only to the previous layer, but also to the tank itself.
This annoying adhesion is usually rectified by having the printer stop operations and slowly “peel” the print off the tank bottom. This not only slows down the print speed considerably, but also precludes the printing of anything with a delicate structure, as it would likely be damaged during peel operations.
NewPro3D’s approach was to install their secret membrane on the tank bottom to prevent this adhesion. Without the sticking problem, the printer could go at full speed, printing layer after layer without pause.
We hadn’t heard too much from them since that time, but now we understand their first device, the NP1, is now available on the market. They explain:
“The patented membrane has been reformulated to last 40% longer than before. The benefit of this membrane, part of NewPro3D’s Intelligent Liquid Interface, is that the polymerization cycles can occur at a quicker rate than with other popular vats in the SLA and DLP market.
The membrane, a semi-solid, decreases pull forces during the upwards motion of the print, producing a fraction of the pull force. In turn, objects require fewer supports, and ultra flexible materials become printable.”
NewPro3D ILI Membrane
They say the new membrane can work for a full week of continuous 3D printing before requiring replacement — at a cost of US$80 per membrane.
To illustrate the capabilities of this machine, we can see a sample 3D print here — the famous cathedral 3D model so often used for testing. However, this one is a bit small, as you can see the Canadian dime in the view for perspective. NewPro3D tells us this print was completed in about an hour, which is pretty quick.
It seems they’ve been working behind the scenes with several US-based university departments to refine the machine, and now it’s ready for everyone else to use. The NP1’s build volume is quite reasonable at 192 x 120 x 300 mm, which is actually larger than quite a few resin-powered 3D printers.
If you’re wondering, they use a DLP projector as their light engine, which actually adds to the print speed. This is because each layer is printed entirely in one single illumination, as opposed to laser-based systems where you must wait for the laser to traverse all solid portions of each layer.
NewPro3D NP1 Pricing
NewPro3D explains to us that they’ve actually already shipped at least one device to an organization located in Arizona, and others can be ordered as of this moment.
The set price for the device is US$90K, and includes two full days of onsite training and installation, with a one-year warranty, plus support. At that price, they are also planning to offer a leasing option in the future.
If you’re looking for a very fast resin 3D printer, the NP1 might be for you.