Hong Kong-based company, Wow!, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for their newest 3D printer, SparkMaker. This 3D printer utilizes stereolithography (known as SLA or SL) technology which creates patterns, models, prototypes, and parts layer by layer using photopolymerization, a process wherein light causes molecular changes, allowing them to link and form polymers.
This printer had a $99 price point when it began running on Kickstarter. Printers at that price point are no longer available, but pledges of $159 and up are currently not sold out. Wow! intends to bring quality SLA printing to a consumer audience with this printer.
The Kickstarter campaign raised the needed capital in 20 minutes and has gone on to raise over $225,000 at the time of writing, with more than 1,000 backers. This is with 40 days to go in the campaign.
What makes this printer different from the competition is partially the very accessible price. The first 200 early bird backers on Kickstarter will get the machine and 100 grams of resin for $99. The next 500 got the same items for $129. The price is now $159, but as the printer will retail at $249 when it goes on the market, that is still a price that people are jumping on.
CEO Martin Cao noted, “We recognized that many people would love to explore the fun and creativity of 3D printing, but from our years of experience in the industry, we knew that people were discouraged by the high price of the hardware and the complexity of the process.”
“Our goal was to eliminate both, and with SparkMaker we have done so.”
Martin and his team put their experience to use to create a product that is affordable but also quality. SLA is a higher-quality printing method than the typical fused deposition model (FDM) technology that many printers use. SLA is preferred by artists and modelers as it provides precise models with better accuracy and higher resolution.
The SparkMaker has easy use by virtue of a one-button printing process. It also makes it simple to load multi-color resins and offers print-ready designs that are easily downloaded. The system also doesn’t take up much space with measurements of 10 x 6.7 x 6.7 inches. The weight comes in at an incredibly light 6.6 pounds.
It comes with five resin types:
- LCD-W – water washable resin for those who do not want to bother cleaning with alcohol.
- LCD-T – simulates RBS plastic with a high level of strength and great finish.
- LCD-E – superior elastomeric properties which simulate the feel of rubber.
- LCD-N – balance between durability and hardness used to simulate nylon plastic.
- LCD-C – great burnout performance without ash for jewelry and craft printing.
With the masses interested in accessible 3D printing, it is no surprise that the SparkMaker has garnered so many fans and such funds. It has a cost that is well below other SLA printers and offers many of the features people want. As more and more companies put out lightweight 3D printers, it seems likely this technology will only continue to spread.