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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.

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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.

For more details about the XYZPrinting Nobel 1.0 affordable SLA 3D printer…

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The EinScan-S 3D scanner is a new affordable consumer oriented desktop 3D scanner from the Chinese company Shining 3D that is supposed to offer high-quality results at a sub $1000 USD price – it should be available for $899 USD. This 3D scanner uses structured light phase shifting technology and should be able to provide accuracy of ≤0.1mm, a resolution that should provide one of the best detail levels for a non-professional, consumer oriented and affordable device. The EinScan-S 3D scanner apparently has two modes, one using the provided automatic turntable for scanning smaller objects with a size of up to 215x215x200 mm and a second fee scan mode using a tripod mount for the scanner with the ability to scan bigger objects up to 700x700x700 mm in size. Shining 3D promises that their device is portable enough for easy carrying around, scanning fast – about 3 minutes for a full automatic turntable scan and easy to be used with automatic processing of the acquired data to provide you with a good 3D model that should be ready to be printed without additional work from the user required.

EinScan-S Desktop 3D Scanner Specifications:
– Single scan range: 215×160 mm
– Max scan volume: Automatic scan 215x215x200 mm, Free scan 700x700x700 mm
– Scan speed: Automatic scan <3min, Free scan <10s (single range) - Alignment method: Automatic align, features align, manual align - Scan mode: Automatic scan, Free scan - Data format: STL, ASC - Resolution: 1.3 Mega pixel - Light source: White light - Printing support: Yes - Scanner dimension: Folded state 400x300x120 mm, Extended state 630x300x280 mm - Scanner weight: 3.5 kg - Power consumption: 50w - AC input: 100V~230V

If you are looking for an affordable consumer oriented product for 3D scanning and then printing the resulting models you might want to keep an eye on the EinScan-S desktop 3D scanner among others. The device is quite interesting in terms of specifications and it it really is able to deliver what the manufacturer promises at this price point it is going to be a great addition to your 3D printer. Again we are talking about an affordable consumer oriented 3D scanner with an expected sub $1000 USD price, not about a professional high-end solution that may cost tens of times or even more that price and would be able to offer better resolution. For its expected price the EinScan-S does look very promising, so we are looking forward to seeing the device available on the market and seeing what it can actually do.

For more information about the Shining 3D EinScan-S Desktop 3D Scanner…

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We continue experimenting with the use of the Smooth-On XTC-3D after we recently shared our first experience using it. This time we used Natural PLA filament for our tests as we wanted to see will the use of the XTC-3D help in improving the transparency of the printed parts. Last month there was an interesting article about using the XTC-3D for improving the clarity of the Taulman T-glase, so we wanted to see if there will be a similar effect on parts using the semi-transparent Natural PLA filament. The initial results that we’ve had with parts that we have already printed and decided to use for tests were not very good as apparently the 3D printed part with that you want to be more transparent will need to be specifically printed with thin walls. So we gave up on experimenting with improving the transparency on already 3D printed parts with Natural PLA, and while we also wanted to try out the Taulman’s tutorial for T-glase filament we had trouble with the filament sticking properly to our build plate covered with standard 3M ScotchBlue tape on the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that we are using, so we have postponed testing with that material and XTC-3D for a later time as well.

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What we have decided to do instead was to coat the 3D printed parts with XTC-3D, then sand them and paint them with a standard spray paint used for coloring plastic materials. We have started with a Batman logo that we have printed with Natural PLA filament, left to right on the photo: the 3D printed logo, the logo sanded with fine sanding paper getting a more matte look and then painted with black metallic spray paint. The end result is really nice and smooth surface after the sanding and painting, though we did not do great with the painting part, but we did it in a bit of a hurry. As we have mentioned the 3D printed parts that we have used here for testing are not good for testing to improve the transparency of Natural PLA filament as they are tick objects with infill like is the case of the Batman logo, but even with multiple shells and without infill it is hard to improve transparency. You would probably need to use less shells with no infill and maybe larger layer height to get better results with improved transparency on Natural PLA as the recommended setting for T-glase suggest.

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The Batman logo is easier to coat with XTC-3D and sand and paint, so we decided to also try a bit more complex 3D print – a small trophy cup. We have already had a few of these printed, so it was easy to compare before and after. On the photo above you can see the 3D printed cup on the left and the same cup coated with XTC-3D and sanded on the black background. You may notice that the coated and sanded cup still does show some noticeable lines for the layers, even though the surface is actually smooth – this is a result f the transparency of the material. On the right part of the image above you can see the already painted cups, the one that is coated with XTC-3D and sanded (inside and outside) on the left part and the one that is directly painted after being printed. Again not perfect painting on our side with some dust particles getting caught by the paint, but you can clearly the very smooth surface of the coated and sanded part. Even without sanding the 3D printed parts that are coated with XTC-3D that are painted after that may look great, but sanding may help in getting the paint to stick better and be more durable on the long run. We are going to continue experimenting with the Smooth-On XTC-3D coating as we like the results so far, though it does need to getting used to and trying out different with settings for the 3D printed parts depending on what are the final results that you want to achieve.

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