Layer One, creators of the Atom line of 3D printers, have teased the details of a forthcoming machine that can 3D print using both FDM and SLA technology.
Speaking to 3D Printing Industry as part of our guest article series in June Mike Galvez, International Marketing Manager at Layer One, commented tellingly, “the dream of the all-in-one desktop digital fabrication machine is beginning to materialize.”
“The era of the RepRap is coming to an end. The era of the digital fabrication platform is about to begin.”
Posted by ATOM 3D Printers on Thursday, August 31, 2017
Teaser clip of the Atom SLA also dubbed “Atom 3” from Layer One. Via Atom 3D on Facebook
Scale and detail
The Atom FDM/SLA 3D printer is designed to deliver both size and detail in a single machine.
The machine has an interchangeable print head and build plate, meaning that users can choose to “go large” in filaments like PLA, or create smaller, finely detailed objects using resin and SLA.
Founder and CEO of Layer One Lawrence Lee explains, “Even with our ultra-rigid design and a .2mm nozzle, it’s impossible to achieve super high detail with FDM, no matter how hard you try.”
“SLA is the only way we can offer this capability to our customers.”
Like Layer One’s existing 3D printers, the forthcoming Atom will operate using a delta frame, avoiding restrictions of the typical Cartesian system that moves along a rail.
Replying to a comment on Facebook asking whether the new Atom would be an update of the 2.5EX, Layer One revealed, “it’s currently a working prototype at the moment,” and “we will be exploring both options.”
To give an idea of potential FDM specifications, the Atom 2.5EX produces a layer resolution of 0.05–0.3mm; it has a max. print area of 22cm diameter by 34.5cm height; and the total dimensions measure 42cm x 42cm x 93cm (L x W x H).
Keeping costs down, the SLA module in the “Atom 3” will operate using an LCD light source. If using a specially made resin that doesn’t require UV curing, the makers could also avoid the need for a shield on the machine allowing 3D printing “in open air”.
Lee adds, “SLA machines require a very sturdy Z (vertical) motion system, and delta’s provide that better than the conventional cantilever system.”
“Of course, there will be challenges to designing a user-friendly module versus a standalone machine, but we accept them gladly.”
Existing Atom 3D printers are priced within the prosumer range at $1699 for the older, 2.0 model, and $2299 for the most recent 2.5EX. The company’s goals however, are to keep solutions cost effective.
Galvez states, “In the quest to deliver a cost-effective 3D printing solution to hobbyists, engineers, and industrial designers, the industry seems to have forgotten the finer details of what makes a machine not only easy to use, but easy to live with.”
“At Layer One we’re aiming for upcoming versions of Atom to be both.”
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Featured image: Layer One’s Atom FDM/SLA 3D printer. Image via Atom 3DP