So many 3D printers pop up on Kickstarter that we generally only cover those that have already met their funding goals or surely will. The Helix, I’m not sure if it’s going to make it, but I wanted to show it to you in the hope that maybe we can help it get there. It’s at $37,000 of a $95,000 goal, with 17 days left, so there’s plenty of time still. Have a look and see if you can figure out why I want this printer to get funded.
How ‘bout that X/Y gantry with custom-made precision anti-backlash lead screws? No belts! Nor pulleys! What I love about this design is the instant, straight torque that comes out of the motors directly to the lead screws that move the hot ends. The extruders are also custom made, and the solution appears to be effective. The pressure of the custom-cut drive gear is spread along a greater length of the filament, which means more traction with less pressure. That equates to no slippage or breakage, two of the leading causes of failed prints. The hot ends are all-metal E3Ds.
Helix was designed by Acuity Design, a product development firm, so they’re the right people for the job of developing a 3D printer. They call their custom components PAFT, for Precision Additive Fabrication Technology. Attention has been given to the most important aspects of 3D printer hardware: gantry/carriage, extruder, and hot end. So the Helix will definitely outperform most RepRaps in speed, precision, and build volume, which is over a cubic foot at 320mm x 300mm x 300mm. It can print at up to 350mm/s, and supposedly able to do 100 micron layers at 200mm/s. Because the hot ends (yes, dual extrusion) are all metal, all materials are possible, including nylon and polycarbonate. All of the bearings and rails are the best available, and the build platform is TIG welded steel. All this amounts to X/Y movements as small as 4 microns.
The Helix also has an enclosed build space and on-board printing through sD card. There are a few left for $4750, but the rest are $5000+, so get in there quickly. That’s kind of steep considering there are $200 printers available, but this is probably the highest quality desktop 3D printer I’ve seen.