A promising new kickstarter hopes to tackle 3 major segments of the 3D printing industry with a new trio of 3D printers. Aaron Louis Technologies is hoping to shake up the additive manufacturing industry with its line of ‘Dark Chip’ printers. The purpose of the project is to provide consumers with affordable, open source 3D printers.
The 3 models that they plan to release are the OL1720S, the OL1720HT and the CL1720HT. They mostly vary in temperature range but the CL1720HT also has a closed loop motor making it the most interesting device in the line. The OL1720S uses a standard temperature (315 °C), while the OL1720HT and CL1720HT can achieve 400 °C.
Aaron Louis are using an interesting market placement strategy with this line. Each printer represents a different segment of the market. The OL1720S was designed as an entry-level machine, while the OL1720HT was designed to be an affordable yet versatile multi-material device. Accordingly, the company developed the CL1720HT (the most sophisticated of the bunch) as an industrial-grade high temperature system.
Dark Chip Printer Specs
All 3 printers have a 12″ x 12″ x 12″ build volume. The HT printers can achieve a range of up to 400°C which gives them the ability to paint exotic materials like PEEK as well as the usual thermoplastics. The designers used anodized aluminum and stainless steel to fashion the extruders. Nick Lanham from Aaron Louis informed us that this makes the extruders “extremely durable, easy to maintain, and feature 13:1 planetary gear reduced motors for extremely precise extrusion control”.
The printers have an aluminum frame with brushed aluminum panels. They employ the use of high temperature extruders and a removable hotbed. The hotbed consists of 3 350W heating cartridges embedded into 1/2″ thick 6061 aluminum plates, mounted to a nema 23 powered 16mm ball screw for linear actuation. Print quality is further bolstered by auto-bed levelling, thick hotbed for minimal warping.
Another interesting feature of the printers is the heating system. Redundant heaters are in place on the off chance that one fails during a long print. With this system the other two heaters will have no problem maintaining temperature.
Advantages of a Closed Loop Motor
Closed loop motors are sophisticated devices that use a constant feedback system to adjust their actions in real time. This allows them to be far more autonomous and self-sufficient during prints. Feedback sensors constantly signal to the motor and determine the best way to execute commands.
Because of the closed loop motors are far better at error detection during prints. They can adjust the z-axis efficiently in the case of physical disruptions or heavy shaking of the machine. In the case of the CL1720HT, the motor also regulates power output decreasing heat during operation.
While most closed loop motor 3D printers are expensive due to a host of different reasons, Aaron Louis are pricing their machines down. One of the main reasons prices can escalate is that the software packages for closed loop systems can be expensive. To curb the costs and maintain quality they have decided to keep the software open source.
Here’s a video of the motor in action:
About Aaron Louis Technology
According to co-founder Nick Lanham the purpose of the project is simple: “our printers provide affordable options to address common issues that we experienced while conducting research as well as common feedback from the 3D printing community”.
The company’s research method involved going over popular printer types and compiling a wish list of features that acted as improvements. From this list they constructed cheaper alternatives to the current industry standards.
Nick Lanham has an MBA and currently works for the Department of Defense. His partner David Edelen has performed several years of 3D printing research on topics such as advanced thermoplastics (e.g., fiber glass reinforced Ultem, etc.) and optimization of multi-material sandwich structures.
Nick sees a bright future for their new device. “We believe our closed loop, high temperature 3D printers could significantly expand biomedical, aerospace, automotive, manufacturing and rapid-prototyping 3D printing opportunities – especially for complex materials such as PEEK”.
A special thanks to Nick Lanham for reaching out to us.