3D Printers

Quality for every printer: An interview with Ilios 3D CEO

Just after a significant upgrade to their firmware, Ilios 3D unveiled the latest product in their line of 3D printers. Initially manufactured to combat a need for affordable 3D printers that could build larger objects, Ilios printers were first introduced through an IndieGoGo campaign. The campaign proved successful and the printers have been flying off the virtual shelves. Luckily, we recently caught up with Ilios 3D CEO and director Demetris Zavorotnitsienko to learn more about the new and improved printer, and about the company. According to Zavorotnitsienko, the initial Ilios HD Kit was designed for a different project, not 3D printers. However, because of the high demand Ilios received from the first kits, the team dedicated all of their energy toward a new focus: 3D printers. Zavorotnitsienko explains Ilios’ goal for their printers, saying:

“The philosophy is simple. With so many 3D printers coming out almost every week, people sometimes forget about the quality and reliability of a product. We make a 3D printer last with metal components and over engineered in some cases designs which provide the rigidity needed for a 3D printer to achieve low resolutions.”

Courtesy of Ilios 3D

As a testament to their dedication to quality, reliable products, Zavorotnitsienko penned a helpful article about the importance of identifying quality 3D printers on the Ilios website. The article outlines a simple guide to determining the quality of a 3D printer, seeing as how most people don’t often realize the capabilities of a properly assembled printer.

Introducing the Ilios Beam

The latest printer, the Ilios Beam, is the “child of the summary of all Ilios 3D printers,” says Zavorotnitsienko. “It takes the software and electronics which were developed for the Ilios Ray…and combines it into an affordable mechanism which, in its resolution and build volume, can surpass most of the competition.” With each new Ilios 3D printer, the team works hard to improve upon previous technique, design and software, ensuring that simplicity and compactness always win out in the end product. When designing the Ilios Beam, Zavorotnitsienko says engineers were afforded many opportunities that they did not have with previous printers:

“After designing something as complex as Ilios Ray, a 3D printer which is used in research laboratories and educational institutions now, we can manipulate light and the required laser beam through software as we want, which gives us the flexibility to spend less on off-the-shelf components and make the machine in its entirety within our workshop.”

A lot of bang for your buck

Currently retailing for €2486 ($2779), the Ilios Beam stands well within the average price range and, in some cases, surpasses competitive prices of other good FDM 3D printers. Zavorotnitsienko insists that each Beam is designed with:

  • Outstanding resolution
  • A completely metal frame that provides rigidity for highly detailed projects
  • Conveniently large build volume
  • Unmatched software capabilities that allow for remote control and much more
  • Internal storage options as opposed to using external memory devices
  • Wifi controlling
  • And more!
Courtesy of Ilios 3D

The Beam is also designed and assembled by hand in one location by a specialized team of talented engineers who work hard to offer unique, innovative products that can’t be found anywhere else on the market. Like all other Ilios products, the Beam “uses a different angle of approach to 3D print an object within a much larger build envelope than most,” says Zavorotnitsienko. Ilios engineers “try not to use traditional techniques to find solutions,” instead they recognize that well-established SLA functions can be used to invent new methods to produce a superior SLA model. In doing so, the team generally focuses on the rigidity, quality, resolution of their 3D printers. Zavorotnitsienko has a keen understanding of the important relationship between these factors saying, “even if you manage to create technology that prints below the 20 micron mark, you simply won’t be able to achieve it if you have flimsy construction that cannot keep up with the rest of the technology.”

Who is this product for?

Designed to be as affordable as possible without losing any quality, the Ilios Beam is well suited for DIY developers and ordinary tinkerers. This was previously an unattainable goal with earlier Ilios products that came with a higher price tag. As part of their philosophy, Ilios “welcome[s] distribution and [has] no constraints…[in order to] provide a quality product to the final user and in turn help their project.” In order to stay true to this mission, all Ilios products are available to resellers and distributors.

Can the Beam push the industry?

Zavorotnitsienko believes that with the Beam, important technologies and techniques are now conveniently placed in the hands of the public. He explains how the Beam will afford more innovation, saying:

“As with any technology, refinement is important as well as material quality. SLA is a very versatile 3D printing technique and can produce resolutions much higher than other technologies. In general, as with any product, price is important to make the technology affordable enough for the average consumer. I believe we achieved this with the Ilios Beam and can provide a quality SLA solution for anyone who desires it.”

The Ilios team is now focusing on the software side of their 3D printer line. “We recently released an Android App for Ilios 3D printers, which allows remote control and monitoring…and we intend to expand this even further with Smart Watch notifications and other functions,” says Zavorotnitsienko of the company’s latest developments. In the future, they hope to make the next 3D printers even more user friendly and with much faster processing capabilities. They are also working on software integration for future products and services.

Courtesy of Ilios 3D

Ultimately, Zavorotnitsienko sees big things coming from his company in the near future. With valuable help from their community an customer base, he believes that Ilios 3D will continue to provide innovative solutions and products to everyone. He ended the interview on an optimistic note, saying:

“We spend a great deal of time on designing and refining our products…We are a small team with large ambitions, and feedback as well as support from the community is always important to us. Ilios Beam is truly a great and versatile machine which becomes even more useful with the software framework we created for it and all other Ilios 3D printers. It is difficult to stand out within the current sea of competition, especially through a limited budget and opportunities, however I believe that we make up for it when it comes to innovation and talent.”

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