We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
The XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer is currently one of the most affordable that uses the more detailed Stereolitography technology for curing liquid resin with an UV laser, producing higher quality prints as compared to the more common FDM/FFF 3D printers using thermoplastics. Earlier this year, when the Nobel 1.0 was announced it looked like a really good alternative to some other more expensive SLA 3D printers and although we like FormLab’s 3D printers they are still quite more expensive. So recently we have decided to go for the Nobel 1.0 as an expansion of our 3D printers lab in order for us to start using SLA 3D printing as well and dig deeper into the technology. Now it is time to share our initial impressions after using the XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 3D printer for a while, so if you are interested in SLA 3D printers and are on a more limited budget you will most likely be interested in this device as well.
The Nobel 1.0 3D printer, like most other SLA 3D printers, comes with a smaller build volume than you might’ve gotten used to from FDM/FFF devices, but offers higher printing resolution that comes with slower build times unfortunately. The device itself is affordable and you might end up getting it for less than you might need to pay for an FDM/FFF 3D printer, however the UV resin that the device uses as a material for printing is the expensive part along with the resin reservoir that also needs to be replaced from time to time. The result is that you get better quality prints, but the material that SLA 3D printers can be multiple times more expensive and there are other consumables like the resin tank that make printing even more expensive. Furthermore the Nobel 1.0 3D printer can be used officially only with the official XYZprinting resin as the bottles with the material come with an RFID tag that the printer uses for keeping track of the remaining liquid in order for the resin tank auto refill functionality to work. So far the choice of resins that are made to work with the Nobel 1.0 is quite limited and there is no official support for other more affordable or different type of resins from third parties, so this is a bit of a problem.
The Nobel 1.0 is relatively easy to get started up with and produces good results. As with other SLA 3D printers when the printed part is ready you need to take some extra steps such as cleaning the part with alcohol in order to remove any remaining liquid from the solid part. Also, like with many other printers using the same technology when you remove the 3D printed part from the build platform it is still not fully cured – the object is still softer to to the touch and you need to be careful. This makes it easy to remove any support materials for example or do some post-processing before you finalize it by further curing the part with some UV light at which point the part will become very strong and fully cured. As for the printing time, well, you need to be ready to wait more, especially if you decide to increase the printing quality more than the standard level of 0.1mm – usually the highest quality on FDM/FFF 3D printers. Do note that unlike some other 3D printing software with the XYZware that the Nobel 1.0 uses if you have a problem with your 3D model file it will most likely end up with a broken sliced part that will not print at all, so make sure that you have no issues with the 3D file that you import for printing. So, in general we are happy with the results we are getting from the Nobel 1.0 3D printer so far, we haven’t had any issues with it yet resulting in failed prints, but there are some limitations such as the need to use only official materials that we are don’t like that much.
When talking about an accessible 3D printers using SLA printing technology the name Formlabs often comes first in mind and the company has just introduced their new model – the Form 2. The new model comes with a 40% larger build volume, touch-screen controls, and Wi-Fi and Ethernet LAN connectivity allowing for even better desktop stereolithography 3D printing. The new model comes with new integrated resin system that automatically dispenses resin allowing for bigger prints, less mess, and longer tank life. A new peel mechanism and heated resin tank create a reliable print process for large, solid parts and intricate details. The new model comes with 50% more powerful laser in the form of a 250mW precision laser guided by custom-built galvanometers, delivering bigger prints with better detail.
The new model also comes with new resin cartridges that have RFID tags in order for the printer to track the exact level of resin left and properly use the auto refilling system. There however will be a special Open Mode that will allow you to print using 3rd party resins, but for these you will have to manually refill the tank with resin. The price of the new Formlabs Form 2 3D printer starts at €3299 Euro excluding VAT for Europe or $4199 USD for USA. The prices of the resins and additional accessories for the new Form 2 SLA 3D printer start at the same levels as the ones for the previous Form 1 and Form 1+ models.
Formlabs Form 2 Technical Specifications:
– Printer Dimensions: 35 × 33 × 52 cm / 13.5 × 13 × 20.5 in
– Printer Weight: 13 kg / 28.5 lbs
– Operating Temperature: Auto-heats to 35° C / Auto-heats to 95° F
– Power Requirements: 65 W, 100–240 V, 1.5 A 50/60 Hz
– Laser Specifications: 405nm violet laser, 250mW laser
– Connectivity: Wifi, Ethernet and USB
– Printer control: Interactive Touch-screen with Push-button
– Technology: Stereolithography (SLA)
– Peel Mechanism: Sliding Peel Process with wiper
– Resin Fill System: Automated
– Build Volume: 145 × 145 × 175 mm / 5.7 × 5.7 × 6.9 in
– Layer Thickness: 25, 50, 100, 200 microns / 0.001, 0.002, 0.004, 0.008 inches
– Laser Spot Size: 140 microns / 0.0055 inches
– Supports: Auto-Generated, Easily Removable
– Resin cartridges: 1L cartridges
When talking about affordable 3D printers we often mean device that use the most common FDM/FFF technology for extruding thermoplastic materials, a good start for a first 3D printer. Sooner or later you start thinking about upgrading to a better quality and then the next step is SLA or Stereolitography 3D printer, but when you reach to that point you will notice that there are actually not that many devices targeted at consumers that are affordable priced. This is however about to change with SLA technology getting more attention and available products and one such upcoming product is the Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer from XYZPrinting that should be available for $1499 USD. We have already mentioned the company with their affordable da Vinci 3D printers.
The XYZPrinting Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer uses liquid resin material that is being solidified by a laser resulting in the 3D printed model that you want to make. The Stereolitogaphy technology allows for achieving higher detail levels and the printed parts do have different mechanical properties than what the commonly used ABS and PLA thermoplastics used by FFF/FDM 3D printers. The Nobel 1.0 as well as with many other more affordable SLA 3D printers is that they have a more limited build volume, here it is 128x128x200 mm. So do not expect to be able to print very large objects with this device, though the build volume is not that small and you can also split larger models in smaller parts that will be joined after the printing. One interesting thing about the Nobel 1.0 3D printer is that it comes with an auto refill system that will automatically keep the liquid resin level in the printer’s tank by adding more when needed, so no need to monitor the level and manually pour additional resin.
XYZPrinting Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D Printer Specifications
– Print Technique: SL (Stereolithography Apparatus)
– Dimension: 11″ x 13.2″ x 23.2″ (280 x 337 x 590 mm)
– Weight: 21.2 lbs (9.6 KG)
– Maximum creation size (WxDxH): 5″ x 5″ x 7.9″ (128 x 128 x 200 mm)
– Layer Thickness: X/Y Axis Resolution: 0.3mm (300 Microns), Z Axis: 0.025mm (25 Microns), 0.05mm (50 Microns), 0.1mm(100 Microns)
– Display: 2.6″ FSTN LCM
– Connectivity: USB wire, USB Stick
– Material Properties: Photopolymer Resin
– Software: File Type .stl, XYZ format (.3w)
– Operating System: Windows 7+ (for PC), Mac OX 10.8, 10.9 (for Mac)
The Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer is already listed on the XYZPrinting website, but is not yet available to order. Another thing that is important regarding the device is the availability and price of the liquid resin (photopolymer) that the printer uses for building the 3D printed parts from. This material is also more expensive than thermoplastic filaments, so it is important for an affordable SLA-based 3D printer to also come with a good price and wide availability of liquid resin materials to use along with it. These are however still not officially announced and there is also no pricing information about the resin used by the Nobel 1.0 SLA 3D printer yet, though the device will most likely be also compatible with resins for other similar devices as well.