There are a couple more 3D printers in funding at Kickstarter right now. One that seems particularly interesting is the rugged, pre-assembled, all-metal Hyrel 3D. This one is not made in someone’s garage, but in a shop in Atlanta, GA, comprising a group of engineers, designers, and business people who have been making automated machines for the semiconductor industry for the past 35 years. The group decided to build their own 3D printer when they determined that none of the options they could afford did what they wanted a 3D printer to do.
The project is two-thirds of the way to its $50,000 funding goal with 49 days to go, so it looks like they are going to have a successful project. I can see why–they’ve presented their project extremely well, and their engineering experience inspires confidence.
The Hyrel 3D chasis is made of powder-coated steel and anodized aluminum. Precision linear rails are used in the for all three axes, and a precision ball screw is used in the Z axis for years of high precision trouble-free performance.
You can order the 3D printer with either a single or dual extruder head. With the dual head option, you’ll be able to print in two colors or in two materials (either ABS or PLA). Its modular mounting system is compatible with alternative materials such as epoxy, RTV, chocolate and play-dough.
Inspired by industrial-level 3D printers, the Hyrel 3D uses an interesting hot-swap interchangeable mounting system for the extruder heads. With it, heads can be swapped out in under a minute, even at working temperature. The precision of this system removes the possibility of “extruder head creep.”
In addition to extruder interchangeability, there is a quick filament change system which the project page says makes it easier to change or replenish the filament.
You can choose between two build area sizes: the 150 x 150 x 150mm (x,y,z) or the 200 x 200 x 200mm. If you choose the smaller one, you can upgrade to the larger one later. Either comes with a heated platform.
You can get in to a basic model Hyrel 3D printer for $1,395; for this price you get a single extruder model with the smaller print area. For $1,645 you get a dual extruder model with smaller print area; $1,995 gets you a dual extruder with the larger print area. And $2,245 gives you both the large print area and dual extruder. Each model comes with at least a pound of filament. Now, if you make it $3,500, you’ll get the $2,245 model, plus an ultrasonic wash tank, an enclosure and six pounds of filament. All printers come fully assembled and test.