Aleph Objects, Inc, the company behind the LulzBot range of FDM 3D printers, recently teased something pretty interesting. The first hint came from a newsletter and was quickly followed by a video teaser seeming to reveal the first clues about an SLA LulzBot resin 3D printer.
The video, which can be seen below, shows an SLA resin-vat (and what looks like a modified LulzBot Mini) along with a couple of prints often used as demos for SLA/DLP processes: a chess piece and a dental model. “We took the world’s most reliable 3D printer,” the voiceover says. “And made it even better.”
It turns out that many in the 3D printing community were right to be skeptic, as LulzBot quickly confessed that the resin-based clues it was dropping were a silly ruse to highlight another new product. Ruse aside, the company’s actual announcement is worth talking about, as LulzBot is seeking to emphasize that FFF 3D printers are becoming capable of higher resolution printing than ever before.
“The capabilities of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) are continually reaching newer heights in terms of print quality,” LulzBot writes on its blog. “The culmination of numerous improvements introduced into the LulzBot ecosystem over nearly a decade brings FFF print resolution on par—and often surpassing—other 3D printing technologies. Every technology has its strengths, and collaboration is ushering in a convergence where engineers, designers, and educators have more and better choices than ever.
The product veiled behind the faux resin vat is the upcoming Aerostruder v2 Micro for the LulzBot Mini 2 3D printer, which features a genuine E3D Titan Aero Extruder/Hot End with a 0.25 millimeter nozzle. The new part offers users the ability to print at resolutions as low as 0.05 mm layers (50 microns). For its TAZ 3D printer users, LulzBot is also developing an adapter that will allow for high-res printing.
The company adds continual updates to its open source Cura LulzBot Edition software is also helping makers to maximize the quality of their prints, largely through improved material and slicing profiles.
Up until now, LulzBot 3D printers have been strictly deposition-based technologies—and it seems that that is what they are sticking to for now! Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, especially as Aleph Objects has carved out a dedicated user base in the maker and 3D printing community. Popular Youtube makers such as James Bruton and Matt Denton rely on LulzBot machines for their projects, and the U.S. Marines have reportedly adopted the desktop 3D printers.
Presently, LulzBot offers a range of desktop machines including the LulzBot Taz 6 and LulzBot Mini 2, as well as a number of filaments, toolheads and extruders. Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the company is that it has remained staunchly open source, meaning that users can download hardware designs, software packages and more.
As the company writes on its website: “Aleph Objects, Inc. is committed to Free Software, Libre Innovation, and Open Source Hardware. We proudly belong and contribute to a diverse group of organizations, projects, and communities that share these values.”
With the company’s lighthearted trick revealed, we’re still eager to learn more about the upcoming Aerostruder v2 Micro and its capabilities. You can see Aleph Object’s humorous confession tape below: