3D Printers

The Newest Kid on the 3D Printing Block — What a Peach!

Whilst The Peachy Printer is not at final product stage and the team’s current Kickstarter campaign responsibly self-describes as needing work to reach its full potential; a 3D printer that can be purchased starting-from a sum as low as USD$100 is a phenomenal breakthrough!  innovation is the key here – a photolithographic 3D printer that further extends the stratification of price range and variety for the home-user / pros-umer.

What does the team behind the world’s cheapest (we’ll come back to this claim, which is a matter of perspective, but not a false claim from one perspective) 3D printer say about their aims?

“The first goal of this project is simple, but bold…

We want to lower the cost and difficulty of 3D Printing to a point where it’s accessible to the masses. We want the 3D Printer to become a household item. We want 3D printing to become a common part of life. We want you to have the choice: Should I buy it or should I make it?

With a Peachy Printer (scanner) on your desk, you can choose to make it. This is the world’s most affordable 3D printer!

And our second goal…

We want to run our business on a set of specific moral principles, some of these are:

– Using Freedom Respecting and Open Source software and hardware. We will NEVER close our source! We will never betray our community!

– Being outspoken and informative about the political and ethical ramifications of 3D printing technology.

– Informing customers of safe practices when using our product and providing proper safety equipment.”

To the newcomer: it should be pointed out that this is far from the first time that these aims/claims have been stated in a new 3D printer crowdfunding project. This is, like most of those other projects, an excellent attempt at fulfilling that proforma. These are the niches that need to be fulfilled; this is the brief that will, currently, most likely open up the market, insomuch as the technical specifications can do as such.

To the start-up: market penetration is going to be as much about mass media attention, strategic analysis and corporate investment as well as well-known brands showing willing to sell in their stores, than the technology itself.

MakerBot’s success is less to do with MakerBot being the best performing 3D printer – although the company has accomplished amazing things –  and much more about marketing strategies, mass media utilising a single brand as an example of a technology (to aid public awareness by simplifying the extent of information communicated for what is, to most, understandably, still a mind-bending technology), government and military strategies (DARPA et al), and economic nationalistic concerns (Made in USA, etc).

A full awareness of the social and societal dynamic for the market place is key to the success of a new (and serious) 3D printer company in this now massively saturated market.

To the accustomed: the Peachy photolithographic printer, a controlled beam of light cures light-sensitive resin into hard objects. A laser beam moves along the X and Y axes to create the object’s form, while using a drip system to control the level of the resin on the Z axis for the height. 3D models are created in Blender (not the easiest of CAD programs I must add, but not the hardest – the ability to program being the crux here). Their Blender add-on  converts the 3D model to an audio waveform.The audio file plays through the headphone jack in your computer to drive a pair of electromagnetic mirrors which reflect and control the path of the laser beam. The higher the volume, the higher the voltage, the more the mirrors move. Put simply, the laser beam draw’s the shape of the object in the X and Y axes. For the Z, the salt water in the top container syphons down to a drip feed, the drip rate controlled by a valve. As each drip leaves the feed, it passes through two contact points creating an electrical connection detected by the mike jack.

As the drips continue to fall into the bottom container, where the accumulated volume causes the resin floating atop it to rise, the software listens to the microphone level, counts each drip that falls, and calculates the resultant level of the resin. This allows the software to send the layer that corresponds with the current Z-level of the resin. This process continues unto completion.

Here is the team’s Kickstarter video for your deliberation:

A bit about the team behind the project:

Rylan Grayston – Owner, Inventor, Software Developer – is a 28 year old entrepreneur living in Yorkton, SK. He has been very inventive and creative all of his life. He describes himself as a deep thinker who loves keeping up to date with technology and the ethics surrounding his new found abilities. I can certainly empathise with that myself, I’m sure many makers do so also. You can find some of his recent work here and here.

David Boe – Owner, Investor, Business Manager – is a 38 year old certified Heavy Duty mechanic who is currently employed by Edmonton Kenworth in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Dave and Rylan met in mid 2012 and instantly hit it off. They were very interested in each other’s ideas and it didn’t take long before they were in business together. Over the past year they have been working together to get the Peachy Printer to where it’s at today.

The rest of the team include: Nathan Grayston – Advertising & Marketing; Josh Ellis – Owner and inventor of MakerJuice; Scott Walde – Circuit Designer; Gage Bush – 3D Modelling and Animation; James Cooper – Senior Software Designer; Kurtis Wanner – President and CEO of FingerTech Robotics LTD.

The campaign is only a few days in on Kickstarter — but boy do people want in! With more than 1300 backers at time of writing, the campaign has more than $175,000 pledged. Well over its $50k goal.