The 3D printing hype machine is already going full steam ahead, but this is pretty awesome.
Meet Peachy Printer, a Kickstarter project aiming to bring a $US100 3D printer to anyone who wants it. 3D printing is a notoriously pricey venture, with the professional-grade machines costing tens of thousands of dollars. A spate of much more affordable hobbyist-grade 3D printers emerged in the past year or two and has significantly lowered the cost of admission to somewhere between several hundred dollars and a couple thousand. Peachy Printer wants to blow this pricing out of the water, and as you might imagine, this has resulted in an impressively-conceived design that makes Peachy Printer something to keep an eye on.
The team emphasises that they are not yet at their final model, but even the current design seems to turn out prints of respectable quality, certainly on par with some machines costing several more hundred dollars. This thing even works as a 3D scanner if you have a video camera or webcam.
Here’s a selection from the Kickstarter page that describes how Peachy Printer works. If you’d rather just watch a video explainer, scroll below it.
The software we wrote […] takes the data from that 3D model and translates it into an audio waveform. It then plays the audio file out to the printer through the headphone jack in your computer. This waveform drives a pair of electro magnetic mirrors. The higher the volume, the higher the voltage, the more the mirrors move. The purpose of these mirrors is to reflect and control the path of the laser beam. By using the audio waveform generated from the 3D model data to drive the mirrors, we are able to get the laser beam to draw out the shape of the object. That’s takes care of the X and Y axes.
Now let’s talk about the drip system that creates movement on the Z axis. The salt water in the top container syphons down to a drip feed. The rate of this drip feed is controlled by a valve. As each drip leaves the feed, it passes through two contact points creating an electrical connection that is detected by your computers microphone jack. The drip continues to fall into the bottom container where it causes the resin floating atop it to rise. The software listens to the microphone level, counting 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 until the print is complete!