Most personal 3D printers are filament-fueled extrusion machines, but there are a number of resin-based machines, such as the Form 1, the Nautilus, the mUVe 1, the B9 Creator and others. There's also several open source plans for resin-based machines.
But there could be a problem. Resins used by some of these machines can exhibit a number of less-desirable properties:
- Low polymerization speed
- Bad accuracy
- Significant shrinkage
- Medium mechanical properties
- Low shelf-life
- High viscosity
- Limited color range
And they cost too much, too.
Polymer consultant Jemmel Belkacem hopes to solve these issues by developing "affordable high-resolution photo-polymer for 3D printers".
Hold on a sec. Is this Belkacem fellow qualified to do this work? It sounds like it, based on his LinkedIn profile:
I am a polymer consultant with a Master of science, expert in organic chemistry and polymer materials, over 10 years research experience, such as organic synthesis, liquid crystal, photo-polymer formulation, thermoset, bio-materials, coating, 3D printing and materials characterizations. I have a strong background in polymer formulation and organic synthesis.
And he's done this type of work for 3D Systems, Kevvox and Huntsman. Also:
I was the main inventor of a patented resin formulation for the stereolithography in 2010 (Europe Patent #10186358.7 - 1253 / EP2436510). This invention relates to a system and a resin for rapid prototyping and manufacturing of 3D objects (Araldite Digitalis® project).
Ok then! Belkacem has launched a Kickstarter project to raise funds for this project. He requires the necessary equipment to formulate and produce the resin. He has detailed plans to resolve each of the issues mentioned above and hopes to ship resin product in November.
You'll be able to receive kilograms of resin in a "range of colors" for as little as €85 (USD$112) per kg, depending on how much you order.
If you have a resin-based 3D printer, or hope to have one in the future, we recommend you support this project. With patents expiring, we expect to see more resin 3D printers in the near future, and they'll all need high-quality, inexpensive resin.