Everyone’s getting into the resin 3D printer business.
Now Flashforge, a long-time manufacturer of inexpensive and popular desktop 3D printers using plastic extrusion, has shown a resin-based unit they call the “Hunter”.
The Hunter follows the style of many comparable units, with a UV-protective translucent cover on the top, so that you may observe the 3D printing process in progress.
We were told the Hunter includes a “self-made projector”, which differs from many resin-based 3D printers that employ standard, off-the shelf video projectors. There are very few machines that have a purpose-built projector of their own design in them. The benefit of doing so is the ability to optimize the wavelengths to best fit the act of photo-curing the resin, whereas other projectors are optimized for watching videos.
It’s possible the company could use this capability to increase resolution somewhat by choosing different projection chips for the unit from OEM manufacturers, but I’m not sure they’ve done so in this machine.
Nevertheless, the quality of prints from this machine are exceptional.
The Hunter also includes linear motion systems and has a color touch screen.
I asked whether the machine would accept third party resin and was told that Flashforge would recommend their own materials for optimism results, but that it would be possible to use other resins. In fact, I got the impression they were testing a number of resins at this time.
The Hunter is said to have 62.5 micron (0.0625mm) resolution on the X-Y axis, meaning the pixel size illuminated by the projector are of that square size. The Z-axis resolution matters less on resin machines.
Can you get one? Nope, not yet. Apparently the Hunter will become available in February and be priced at approximately USD$3,500, which just happens to be the exact same price as the Hunter’s most notable competitor, the Form 2 from Formlabs.