To date, there hasn’t been a desktop 3D Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine brought to market. There have been kits created and there are others in development. Add the Sinterit Laser 3D Printer to the list. The start-up out of Kraków, Poland launched the desktop device at Euromold 2015 with examples of prints from the machine and a sales pitch to leave one giddy… and a bit skeptical. Why?
Oh, the things you can make
Outside of a paper book(?), a small mechanism with moving gears, and a small indecipherable structure, we have yet to see any evidence of a machine actually creating the prints, but we did have a chance to talk with Konrad Glowacki, former software engineer with Google, who has us on good terms that the printer is real, is a desktop machine, and is on schedule to deliver January 2016 (March according to the website). We wanted to find out a little more about how this came about and how they’re seemingly able to do what no one has done.
Dimensions: 65 x 55 x 40 cm (25.6×21.6×15.7in)
Weight: 30kg (66lbs)
Max power consumption: 2kW
Laser: laser diode 5W IR Type
Layer thickness: 0.06-0.15mm (2.4-5.9 mils)
Print-bed size: 15x20x15cm (5.9×7.9×5.9in)
Max print size: 13 x 17 x 13cm (5.1×6.7×5.1in)
Speed (depends on model and material): 15mm/h (0.6in/h)
Efficiency: 30 cm³/h (1.83in³/h)
Software: Sinterit Studio 2016 – pre processing of print
Price: 6,990 EUR (7,990 USD)
Detailed specs here (pdf)
SolidSmack: How did the concept for the Sinterit SLS Printer come about?
Konrad Glowacki: At the beginning, I procured a laser diode from the US and some used PA12 powder. We mounted the laser on RepRap printer and 3D printed a small bed from PLA to test if it would even work. It was a real pain, but through those tests we confirmed that our idea was feasible, so we started working on our first prototype.
SS:How many prototypes did you go through? What was the challenge?
KG: Today we have the 5th iteration of our machine. Through the process, we got stuck several times and thought about stopping this project. But each time our friends, family and even some acquaintances encouraged us to keep trying. We had hardware issues, software issues (at first we tried an open-source slicer and control software), and finally decided to write our own software from all the problems with outside software that kept limiting us.
SS: What was the turning point?
KG: It was difficult (almost 2 years now), but we are finally able to take orders, finish certifications and ship the first printers in January 2016.
SS: How is this different from a DIY kit like the Sinteratec?
KG: We are delivering a fully-assembled unit with warranty, so it’s not comparable to a DIY kit from Sinteratec. We wish them the best, as we see there is a lot of potential in this market and competition is always good for customers, encouraging both to deliver better machines and software over time. We also have a strong focus on materials. Currently, we only offer one black material, but next year we will be ready to unveil many more colors with different properties.
It’s hard not to be skeptical about this machine, especially after an eerily similar feel to the botObjects multi-color 3d Printer that surfaced a mere two years ago (and was acquired by 3DSystems before ever going into production.) SLS technology is quite different though and the concept of a desktop SLS machine isn’t far-fetched at all. Is this something we’ll finally see? Or, will it (and the pre-order money) get gobbled up as well?