When you think of 3D printing, an image of a Prusa Mendel or a Makerbot Replicator may come to mind. These printers both use extrusion type printing methods and are anywhere from a couple hundred to even a thousand dollars. For most people this high cost entry in getting a 3D printer is a luxury, however, a new printer is on the block to change all that and aims to be “a 3D printer in a class all its own”, the Peachy Printer.
So how does the Peachy Printer have such a low price? Well the creator (Rylan Grayston) sought to stay clear of the normal extrusion method, due to the high cost of parts, instead opting to create a Photolithographic printer.
Photolithographic printers work by controlling a small beam of light into a tub of light sensitive resin which then cures becoming hard. Printing on the X and Y axes for Photolithographic printers is simple enough, however the Z axis is usually a problem.
Rylan came up with a dripping system that slowly drips salt water from the top container into the bottom container containing the resin. The resin floats on top of the salt water, so with every drop, the resin height increases. With a special sensor the printer is able to count the number of drips and determine the actual resin height. Because the layer height is increasing by a tiny volume every drop the Peach is capable of producing very high quality prints.
The project will be open source and promises backers that “We will NEVER close our source! We will never betray our community!”