3D Printing

18-Year-Old Launches Low-Cost SLS 3D Printer on Indiegogo

Lukas Hoppe, an 18-year-old about to finish secondary school in Bremen, Germany is trying to raise money on Indiegogo to build a prototype of his design for an open source, desktop SLS 3D printer.


Hoppe’s ultimate goal is to eliminate the overhangs and bridges necessary to support desktop 3D printed models, by utilizing industrial additive manufacturing laser technology.  Hoppe purports to have already designed and worked through many of the key issues of open source SLS printers and says that his 90 x 50 x 55 cm printer will cost him about 2,000 euros to build, while currently SLS printers go for the price of a home or an expensive car.


The selective laser sintering process scans a laser over a thin layer of powder. When the laser hits the powder, the powder’s particles fuse wherever the laser passes over them, leading to a cross-section of the object being printed, a process that repeats until the model is completed. This process allows the designer to build parts without restriction, or the need for bridges or support structures, as one layer of powder will support another. This is a huge advantage over SLA and FDM machines, currently the standard for at-home use. Another big advantage is that any material available as powder can be used, from nylon to sugar!


While there are other low-cost SLS printers currently on their way to market, Hoppe’s emphasizes in his Indiegogo campaign that he is a huge open source and RepRap project supporter and, so, his YOU-SLS includes standard parts and should be easy to build for everyone, while still upholding the integrity of the original design.

So far, Hoppe has exceeded his goal with 170% funding and 18 days left to go. He says that with whatever extra money he gets he plans on experimenting with upgrades to the design such as LCD-ramps so the printer can function without a computer connection.  Best of luck to Lukas Hoppe and his YOU-SLS! We are excited to see the prototype.