This project's funding goal was not reached on March 26, 2014.
About this project
LATHON makes performance affordable.
The LATHON was developed because every 3D printer with similar performance was more than $4,000! To make great 3D printer more accessible I designed one that cut the cost in half. Every choice made in the design of the LATHON improved reliability and ease of use over existing 3D printers.
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How is LATHON better?
- Enclosed Build Volume
- Air Filtration
- Large High Quality Prints
- Dual Nozzle Printing
- Dissolvable Support
- Overmolded Prototypes
- Multiple Materials
- Standalone Printing
Enclosed Build Volume
Many printers have an "open-air" printing architecture; while cheap, this approach has many pitfalls. The act of 3D printing is a balance of thermodynamics and kinematics. Any rapid change in temperature such as opening a door will create errors in the print. These temperature changes can lead to having a single layer of your print be ruined, which can cause a total print failure. The enclosed build volume also prevents curling of ABS(Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene aka LEGO plastic) printed models. Tested for over 16 hours of continuous printing, the LATHON has proven its reliability.
In the LATHON air is circulated in the build volume constantly passing through two activated carbon filters that drastically reduce the amount of ABS particles in the air. With "open-air" printers the not so pleasant smell of ABS fills the room. The two activated carbon filters make the LATHON available to print ABS in your home or office.
Large High Quality Prints
With an enclosed build volume and an Ultem 2300 print bed you can set your mind at ease as you can make massive prints without errors. With a 12"x9"x8" build volume you can actually print useful items, not just small toys. Imagine printing your own Iron Man costume or a carbon fiber wrench; with the LATHON this is possible! The printing surface is made out of Ultem 2300 that does not need any tape or ABS juice to function. Laminating kapton tape to the build surface takes at least 5-10 minutes and applying ABS juice is messy; this will not be a problem for any of the LATHON users. Just use the included heated bed, let the print cool down and the final print simply pops right off.
Dual Nozzle Printing
With most printers you are limited to just one nozzle and just one color. I designed the LATHON from the very beginning to use two nozzles unlike other printers that just add another nozzle at the end. During the R&D stages multiple nozzle carriage designs were created in order to ensure the use of the full twelve inches of the print bed.
Another limitation with other dual nozzle printers is the speed. Most printers have the stepper motors mounted to the print head giving them a large moving mass thus limiting their ability to change direction. Since, nobody wants to wait all day for a simple print the LATHON has a Bowden style extrusion to lighten the moving mass by over 80%. With the LATHON you can have the speed of a delta printer with benefits of a Cartesian.
Every LATHON also comes with a specially designed cooling fan so you can print PLA perimeters at 150mm/s!!
With the dual material capabilities of the LATHON it is possible to print with dissolvable support material like HIPS or PVA. HIPS dissolves in D-Limonene (an all natural citrus extract) and PVA dissolves in just water. In many cases removing support material is a laborious and tedious task. With fragile models one misstep in removing support material can crack your part leaving your printing hours wasted! Dissolvable support material solves this problem by enabling you to Print, Bathe, and Enjoy.
With the ability to print in different materials it is possible to print overmolded prototypes. In the product development market overmolds are a common practice but up until now the ability to have in house rapid prototyping capabilities were limited.
With a LATHON you can cheaply create several overmolds that bring your project to life or give your customer several options when making initial decisions.
Overmolds give the user two completely different tactile feelings. This makes the capabilities of the LATHON 3D Printer unique among FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printers.
With high quality E3D hotends you can print any filament that is on the market today. The LATHON has so far been tested using 8 different materials!
The full graphic LCD screen allows the user to have full control over the printer. The front panel also comes with an SD card that allows you to print without being attached to a computer. In the future we plan on making the LATHON WIFI enabled.
Without the RepRap and open source community this project would not hav e been possible. As a thank you, at the conclusion of the project all of design the files will be made available so that anyone can build their own 3D printer. By supporting the open source community we will continue to improve upon existing technology through the development of the LATHON.
Ways To Use The LATHON!
Print toys for your kids!
Print vases to use use around the house!
Music by Krackatoa "Brazilian Wax On Wax Off" (Double Twist Vase, thing:37327)
I bought my first printer kit in 2012 and I quickly realized that the components were low quality. Much of my time after building my initial printer was spent upgrading old technology and eventually I was tired of constantly having to upgrade my outdated printer. Instead I set out to build a printer with cutting edge technology in desktop additive manufacturing.
At this point I was still in college trying to finish my engineering degrees but I enjoyed every minute I got to spend designing my 3d printer. My project continued into graduate school where I began testing many different designs and technologies to incorporate into the printer. It was during this time that I spent almost 2,000 hours designing and testing the printer's capabilities. Eventually I solved all of the technical aspects and converged on to the prototype you see today. The LATHON is now at the level where it will beat any other printer in its price range with its speed, print quality and design.
The printer has indeed grown a great deal over the past several months and it is still improving. As an early backer, have confidence that the prototype featured in this Kickstarter will be streamlined into a production model with a full instruction manual and customer support.
Coming to Kickstarter was the best choice to let the world know about the LATHON. By ordering in bulk from suppliers we can decrease the cost of the LATHON and offer it at an affordable price. With your help we can make LATHON a reality and create a network of creative, smart and driven individuals that all love 3D printing on their LATHON.
The Kickstarter will run as a completely transparent campaign to show all of the backers that we mean business and will do whatever it takes to give you the best product for your investment. First step is to show you what this funding will do for the LATHON.
We know that once a backer you will super excited to receive your new 3D printer so below is a schedule of the LATHON development. This timeline also shows our expected delivery date and our path to get there. In the interest of transparency we will post bi-monthly updates to keep our backers informed and engaged during this journey.
With the Kickstarter funding it will be possible to finalize the prototype into a full fledged production model. The production model is at 80% completion and every day we find a way to further improve the LATHON's performance and usability.
After the Kickstarter campaign we plan on having a daily dialogue with our suppliers in the U.S. and China during the Production Ramp Up phase to iron out all logistics and minimize delays. Once our supply chain has been finalized we will assemble the printers at our Atlanta, GA facility and send them to our backers starting in September.
First I would like to thank my family. My mom for keeping my motivation high when the task at hand seemed impossible. My dad for teaching me about the business aspect and providing the initial seed money. My sister for helping iron out all the details.
- Proto-Pasta for creating some amazing new filaments and approaching desktop manufacturing from an engineering perspective.
- The open source RepRap movement and those on the RepRap IRC. Without RepRap we would not have a democratization of 3D printers.
- Makers: Paul, Scott, Alan and the rest of the Freeside Atlanta Community.
- Video Team: Jobi, Eric, Igor and Donald
Risks and challenges
Creating a company is no easy task, this we know and embrace! With your backing and our drive we can create a company that will thrive in this competitive and growing marketplace. With this prototype we have proven all the technology and the next major aspect that could go wrong would be on the manufacturing side. What we have done to mitigate these risks:
-Offered the printer in only two options assembled or in a kit with no add-ons. This prevents the possibility of having random attachments that may ship to the wrong customer or cause a delay because low quantity suppliers.
-Created an open dialog with our suppliers and asked the lead times for all of the parts for the printer; the longest lead time we have for an order would be 6 weeks. We will assume room for error so in our mind we will order 10 weeks in advance when the time comes. We are also sourcing as many parts as possible in the United States to increase the accessibility.
-Prepared to hire extra help for the fulfillment of rewards. With the completion of the kickstarter we will hire an employee whose sole purpose will be to fulfill orders and create the instruction manual needed to build and operate the 3D printer.
In the case of parts being damaged in the shipping process we will eat the costs and make sure you get a functioning 3D printer for your support. To prevent this from happening there will be great care taken in the production and packaging of all of the printers. Improper use of the printer due to lack of maintenance or care will not be covered and LATHON will not be responsibleLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
Consumer 3D printing has evolved to point where there is no need for coding skills whatsoever. After calibration is completed, which can all be done via the on-board control panel, the process is simple.
1) Find a 3D model online or create your own
2) Import the model into the open source slicing/control software that is included in the kit
3) Tell the software to "slice" your model
3) Press print.
4) Enjoy your 3D printed part!
Most models do not require any special settings especially when using basic filament like ABS or PLA. For more exotic filaments there will be default settings that have been already tested to work on the LATHON 3D Printer.
The LATHON should be able to be assembled in just an afternoon.
Before any of the kits are shipped to their backers there will be a video tutorial created where the LATHON is assembled step by step. Many pieces of the printer need only be bolted together. Any of the wiring that requires anything more than plug n play will be fabricated before the printer is shipped out.
There will be no need for any soldering or advanced electrical/mechanical skills.
Shipping will be calculated and collected at the end of the campaign.
Expect that shipping for a kit would cost around $60 in the US and around $150 to Europe. Shipping an assembled printer would be around $100 in the US.
There will also be a pickup option for those located the Atlanta, Georgia area.
- (30 days)