Monday, May 14, 2012

B9Creator 3D Printer Fundraising on Kickstarter

A couple of weeks ago we posted a piece about the Bukobot 3D printer Kickstarter fundraiser, which has been quite successful, easily exceeding its maker's fundraising goal of $42K with more than a week left to go. Well, yesterday we found out about another 3D printer project at Kickstarter, the B9Creator fundraiser, which has done amazingly well: In less than a week, and with a month still to go, more than $123,000 has been pledged,  far exceeding owner Michael Joyce's original $50,000 project funding goal.

I think this one is so way-over-the-top successful because of its unique technical approach: Joyce uses a deformable mirror device to project a 1024x768 pixel image onto a layer of light-sensitive resin. The entire layer is immediately cured where the light hits it, so each layer of the printed object is created very rapidly. This is in contrast with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) techniques, where the material is laid down in a raster pattern after the fashion of inkjet printing.

Joyce writes that each layer is typically calibrated to be .004" (.1mm) thick, but that the user can trade off speed for even greater resolution. Claimed printing rates are 12-20mm per hour. The resin used is said to be very inexpensive.

The B9Creator is an open source hardware project, so all of the CAD files and software source code files will be made available under an open source license.

On another fun note, check out Michael Joyce's life-sized models of the Lost In Space "Robot B9." (And now you know where the "B9Creator" name came from...)

Update 5/21: With three weeks to go at Kickstarter, pledged funds for the B9Creator total just under $170,000, well over three times the project goal. 


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