New Matter aims to make 3D printing more accessible with the MOD-t
By Paul Ridden
May 29, 2014
If you don't want to spend a whole heap of cash on a 3D printer, the OneUp looks like a pretty sweet deal. But, will it look anyway near as good on your desk as the similarly budget-friendly MOD-t from New Matter? This Wi-Fi-enabled device boasts some novel tech designed to produce quality 3D-printed objects at an affordable price, while also tapping into an online shopping and sharing portal for MOD-t-optimized models.
To be fair to the OneUp, it does benefit from a faster print speed and a much better resolution than the MOD-t, but that doesn't mean the latter is a slouch. Objects are produced in eco-friendly PLA (Polylactic Acid) plastic at a print speed of 80 mm (3.15 in) per second. New Matter currently offers a user-selectable layer thickness of 0.2 to 0.4 mm (though the designers are working on expanding that to 0.1 mm). The nozzle diameter is 0.4 mm, the printer takes any 1.75 mm diameter PLA filament, and the platform can build objects to a maximum of 4 x 6 x 5 in (101 x 152 x 127 mm).
The Fused Filament Fabrication printer, which will measure 15 x 11 x 14.5 in (380 x 280 x 265 mm) and tip the scales at 11 lb (5 kg), features custom electronics and a two-axis motion system that supports the build platform during printing, while moving it at the same time. The makers claim that the patent-pending electro-mechanical design incorporating DC servo motors results in more consistent prints and, because the company has managed to use fewer parts for the platform, costs have been sliced. It runs from a 100-240 VAC power supply, and is said to consume about the same power as a laptop.
The creators are putting the finishing touches to some easy to use proprietary Windows software (Mac, Android and iOS support is on the way) for model customization, that will even accommodate STL creations designed using third party software. An online store described by New Matter as an "Etsy meets iTunes" is also planned, that will allow users to buy, sell and exchange printable designs specially calibrated for the MOD-t.
There'll also be something of a social aspect to the online shopping experience, and the printer is 802.11b/g Wi-Fi-enabled so users will be able to wirelessly send print commands to the MOD-t from a mobile device, computer or even from within the store portal itself.
New Matter sprouted from startup generator Idealab, which has seen more than 125 companies come to life with its help, and has been so far backed by venture capital firms and angel investors. The firm has partnered with the investment arm of product design company Frog to come up with a "cohesive, intuitive and satisfying user experience" and Dragon Innovation to help ensure a smooth path to production. The MOD-t 3D printer has gone through five prototype designs, and the company has turned to crowdfunding portal Indiegogo for the final hurdle into production.
The campaign launched yesterday and has already met its target, with both its "discount" pledge levels already gone. Backers will now have to stump up US$249 or more for a MOD-t 3D printer in black or white, a spool of PLA filament and access to the online store when its virtual doors are opened. If all goes to plan, the "end-to-end 3D printing" experience is scheduled to start in April 2015.
Have a look at the campaign video below.