Nearly a month to the date since they announced the ‘full-color’ desktop 3D printer, botObjects has published new details on their ProDesk3D printer, including specifications, pricing and images. The whole product launch is awash with skepticism from industry insiders due to a lack of physical prints, unrendered product shots, video or detail on how they’re making… well, anything. With the new details, the claim of 25 micron (0.025 mm) print resolution at 175mm per second speeds push it beyond the competition yet again with a few images that “show you the smoothness of finish and the gorgeous colors you can create for your models”. Are the images and price enough to convince you it’s for real? Have a look…
Full-color me skeptical
After our interview with botObject co-founders, Mike Duma (CTO) and Martin Warner (CEO), we were left speculating as to whether a 5-color PLA filament cartridge fed into a dual-extruder head would be capable of blending multiple colors. Joris Peels, expressed his doubts about the printer as did many others across blogs, comments and twitter. Talking with Rich Horne and seeing his amazing multi-color 3D prints provided more perspective into what is currently possible and what the claim of a full-color desktop printer would entail. The new details provide more information, but still leave us asking questions. First, the specs…
- Full color FDM-based printing system
- 5-color PLA cartridge system
- PVA support material cartridge
- ABS supported with additional cartridges (not included in standard package)
- PLA/PVA/ABS filament diameter 1.75mm
- Exterior case dimensions 475mm, 365mm, 365mm (H,W,D)
- Build platform dimensions 300mm, 275mm, 275mm (H,W,D)
- 175mm/s max printing speed
- 25 micron printing accuracy in z direction
- Fully automatic system set up – plug and play
- Auto levelling heated build platform
- Dual extruder head
- Tri-fan air system
Nothing too out of the ordinary, but quite interesting that it features a 5-color cartridge system with a dual extruder head, assuming (since they don’t specify) that the colors are combined prior to being pushed through one nozzle, while the support material is printed through the other. Definitely some magic we (and others) would like to see in action. With the specifications, they also released images, both of the prints and the ProModel software interface. The prints are claimed to have been printed by the ProDesk3D and the software screenshots give a hint of the options and ‘Color Model’ wheel where (we assume again) you select the desired colors for your 3D print. Here are the images (click to enlarge).
Now… ok… I’m sorry, this is all I can take. These are so Photoshop’d it’s ridiculous. I’m actually offended that it is expected for people to believe these are un-edited images. Perspective, shadows, lighting… all off. Are they real prints? More doubts, more questions. I’ve never seen an FDM print without the slightest hint of layering. These show none whatsoever. At the most this shows that a single color is fed through followed by another color for a layered effect. Otherwise, a vertical color shift would be shown, not simply a horizontal shift. No, this is more an exercise it photo-manipulation, vaporware product renders and vector art mock-ups–and most likely the reason we are not seeing this on Kickstarter, since Kickstarter changed their policy on product renderings.
Note: We’ve reached out to botObjects with the request for hi-res images, different angles or any additional screenshots of the software interface with no response. We’ll post an update here if received.
With the announcement, pre-orders are now available. The price? The standard ProDesk3D is available for early order at $2,849 US ($3,249 RRP) and the limited edition ProDesk3D Blue is available for the early price of $3,349 US ($3,749 RRP) with three additional starter cartridges and three additional support material cartridges. Early orders are slated to ship October 1st, 2013.
If you have been wondering if this new printer is nothing but a PR stunt, you’re not alone. A full-color desktop printer would be a fabulous thing, but if you’re familiar with other 3D printer product launches you know this one is unlike any other. While others show photos of the device and videos of the printing, botObjects has shown neither. While others describe the challenges and how they are being funded, botObjects is staying secretive. While others provide a stream of updates and images, botObjects keeps quite. Does that mean it’s not real? No, but with prints at this quality, you would think a video of the build would be shown, if for nothing else than to boost pre-orders.
So, where are you? Are you convinced this printer is legit? Would you pre-order?