A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
3D printers are amazing. Unfortunately, they used to be hulking, complicated, expensive, and with limited functions. We’ve been hearing about and experiencing the pain of setting up the difficult-to-use DIY 3D printer kit and being limited by the standard plug-and-play 3D printer. We are hoping to change that. So we came up with an idea: create an all-metal 3D printer, which is easy-to-use for beginners, expandable for makers, and truly affordable for everyone.
That’s why we designed Snapmaker to be all-metal and all-in-one.
After many stages of analyzing the mechanical design and making prototypes, we’ve developed the Snapmaker 3D Printer to provide an enjoyable user experience. Moreover, It's also a desktop makerspace, a combination of 3D printer, laser engraver, and CNC machine with interchangeable heads. We can't wait to share it with the Kickstarter community and have you help nurture this unique machine with us.
Snapmaker is entirely made of metal, ensuring a high quality and reliable 3D printing experience. Along with a rock-solid aluminum alloys frame, all major components are CNC machined. It uses the precision acme lead screw as a drive mechanism to boost the precision and capacity. The all-metal build also translates into a premium industrial outlook.
Snapmaker has an innovative modular design, which enables a flat-packed and low-cost shipping, quick assembly, strong expandability and manufacturing cost reduction. In particular, we designed a new type of linear module, which can be used in any of x, y, z direction and performs high precision linear motion.
The key to high precision is the combination of a streamlined structure, CNC precision parts, and an improved mechanical design. Snapmaker is capable of high quality printing with excellent details.
A timelapsed video of Snapmaker 3D printing a vase (L 64.5 x W 64.5 x H 80.0mm). We used 1.75mm PLA filament and 0.2mm layer height. It took approximately 1 hour and 19 minutes.
High resolution 3D printing is now an affordable reality with Snapmaker. It prints at a resolution as fine as a $1000 3D printer does, while at a fraction of the cost.
Snapmaker comes with a very friendly newbie software experience in Snap3D. Simply drag and drop a print file onto it or add other print files to make multiple items at a time. Besides the Snap3D, you are free to use other slicer software that you prefer.
With movable and intuitive touchscreen, you can check and control various settings in your hand, such as homing, loading the filament, etc. The 3.2-inch color touchscreen enables you own a standalone 3D printer that is capable of handling your 3D printing workflow from start to finish.
Unlike most traditional 3D printers, Snapmaker never needs leveling. The ingenious design ensures a completely level print platform. Simply set the Z-axis offset with a piece of paper and Snap3D, and then enjoy the 3D printing.
No more hassle of prying loose your print from the print bed! Snapmaker comes with a hassle-free and reusable platform sticker, offering better results than traditional blue painter’s tape and glue sticks. Prints stick well on the printing sticker base and are easy to remove whencompleted.
Have you ever tried to assemble a 3D printer in 10 minutes? With Snapmaker, now you can! It creates an easy setup of 10 parts in only 10 minutes. Do not hesitate, and try it yourself. It’s cool!
Snapmaker can be easily transformed into a laser engraver using the add-on 500mW laser module. You can laser engrave images and logos on wood, bamboo, leather, plastic, fabric, paper and other soft surfaces. Now, customize your wallets, coasters, leather iPad cases, jeans, and more!
[A timelapsed video of carving the Superman logo on bamboo. It took approximately 1 hour.]
You can do CNC carving on wood, PCB and acrylic using the add-on CNC module (spindle speed: 2,000 - 7,000 RPM). The interchangeable modules equip you with more creative power from 3D printing to 3D carving. Instead of purchasing three machines costing around $500 per piece, now you can use one compact and reliable machine, saving your money and desktop space.
Isn’t it incredible! The Snapmaker 3D Printer surely will be a game changer. High quality, reliable, versatile, and affordable. To own an equivalent printer on the market would cost significantly more. But, now you can get it for a pledge that starts at only $199. Making all of this was a big challenge, a challenge we won by using all-metal & modular design and previous work experience in engineering and manufacturing.
How We Made It So Reliable?
Use All-Metal Design
When it comes to 3D printers, reliability is the issue that people care about the most. Snapmaker owes its reliability to an all-metal design. It uses a solid aluminum alloys construction, an all-metal hot end and precision acme lead screws, giving it precision print quality and consistent performance.
In general, higher strength and precision designs can be achieved with aluminum alloys. The body of the linear module is made of extruded aluminum alloys, making it extremely rigid and durable. It has over 10 times better tolerances than plastic, and also better performance than sheet metal. Regarding the motion system, we use lead screws instead of belts and pulleys to achieve higher accuracy and durability.
How We Made It So Versatile?
Use Modular Design
We not only love 3D printing, but also have a great interest in a number of creative designs. In fact, there are lots of like-minded people who want to create more than 3D printing. We found that all 3D printer, laser engraver and cnc carving machine require a three-axis linear motion system to work. So we combined them into one machine that performs all functions.
Snapmaker is built to be versatile from the very beginning we designed it. It is a compact desktop makerspace: a combination of 3D printer, laser engraver, and CNC carving machine. Its versatility is achieved by using interchangeable heads, modular connectors (RJ25 and RJ45 jacks), and modified firmware that enables three applications of 3D printing, laser engraving and CNC carving.
How We Made It So Affordable?
Work Experience in Engineering & Manufacturing
To enhance product quality while reducing manufacturing costs at the same time, the usual method is to use dies and molds for mass production. It is exactly the way we made the all-metal Snapmaker affordable. Clearly, we can expect a lower cost per unit if we make them in higher volume. Meanwhile, we are able to sell our printers in high volume by hitting a very affordable price point.
Generally, making a die or mold is costly. We have been taking this issue under consideration throughout the design process and finally found a great solution: using modular design and designing all three linear modules (the most important and expensive parts) to be identical so that all of them can be made with the same dies. It not only cuts dies costs, but also allows for making linear modules in higher volume. Decreasing the overall manufacturing cost eventually enables us to offer the all-metal Snapmaker at a truly affordable price.
Besides, we control manufacturing risks and costs by selecting popular 6061 and 6063 aluminum alloys raw materials. They not only have good mechanical properties but also are relatively easy to ensure a stable supply. Moreover, we use many common components in making Snapmaker, such as using 42 stepper motors and T8 acme lead screws.
Snapmaker is a tech startup team based in Shenzhen & Walnut, CA. We are passionate engineers and designers with working experience in the fields of aviation, robotics and 3D printing. We enjoy creating products that can let you enjoy the innovative technologies in daily life. We’ve been working hard to make the Snapmaker 3D Printer a reality. Moreover, there are numerous amazing partners we’ve worked with for video filming, manufacturing, shipping, etc. We want to give a huge thanks to all supporters, backers and team members!
Product Development and Manufacturing
Daniel has a unique vision of product design and strategy. Tinker and Otoko complete detailed design and communicate with suppliers. All the three of them are experienced engineers and responsible for the design, development and manufacturing of Snapmaker.
Website, Community and Marketing
David builds and maintains our website. Jade handles Snapmaker’s community management, content operation, etc. Marx handles the market’s research and outreach.
Software and Electronics
Walker works together with Noah to develop our slicer software Snap3D. Paladin is responsible for electronics design, testing and manufacturing.
Risks and challenges
As with any project, we face challenges of manufacturing. We not only have a passion for product design, but also have work experience in engineering and manufacturing. From design to iterative prototyping, we’ve taken almost all possible obstacles into consideration and found solutions to ensure high quality and fast production. As you can see from the prototype we made, the design of Snapmaker has been perfectly verified. Next, we will verify the manufacturability of our design. We are confident in our final prototype since we built it with production processes in mind.
In March, we have ordered components of Snapmaker and are going to run a small batch production for testing and quality control. To be well prepared for mass production of Snapmaker, we have been working on manufacturing since late last year. Most of our suppliers have been already selected, but a few more need to be evaluated in greater depth. After several times back and forth communications with suppliers, we have chosen over 80% of our printer’s components. Though it still takes time for collaboration with suppliers, we think that we can handle mass production since we have established relationships with our manufacturing suppliers. Moreover, we work in a city near to them so that we will be able to know any problem immediately and go to manufacturing factory in person when any issue happens. Our software development will run in parallel with our manufacturing efforts.
We’re ready to start the mass production as soon as the campaign ends and will notify backers of the estimated delivery date. We are committed to providing support and always ready should you ever need us.
You'll not only receive the earliest complete Snapmaker 3D Printer + Laser & CNC Modules from the pre-production batch, but also:
• Join our Beta Feedback Panel. Your feedback goes directly to Snapmaker team and will help make Snapmaker even better for users worldwide. Get all exclusive updates
• Have your name laser engraved on the printer
• get 3 x 0.5kg spools of 1.75mm filament