Autodesk Spark 3D printer models

Yesterday we announced Spark, a new platform for 3D printing, and that we were going to build a 3D printer. 

We've decided to share some more details about the printer here on the Instructables forums. Here are two images of prints made with the prototype printer. Things are very exciting here! We'll have more to share over the coming weeks.

Picture of Autodesk Spark 3D printer models
Landis2 years ago

Fantastic work/prints guys! It's really great to see such an influential player in the 3d community contributing not only your expertise in digital content creation software integration via the Spark open printing platform, but also leading by example by developing hardware right out of the gate. This will foster a productive relationship between the Spark initiative and cutting edge hardware.

Speaking of hardware, I own a few printers and after having used quite a few different technologies/processees/brands I personally think it's great to see you stepping up to the plate with an Autodesk branded additive based resin machine (especially considering your existing efforts with makerbot which I think have proven very successful not to mention the wonderful job you've been doing with meshmixer as well as print support within your mobile apps). Also, speaking of FDM machines, while I actually love using them for multiple reasons (they do a great job of introducing the basics to people that are new to 3d printing and they do serve a purpose for advanced users on simpler forms that exist in every build) it's great that your tackling the real needs of 3d visual development artists by addressing the higher resolutions required by professionals dealing with extremely demanding assets/designs. Basically, awesome work guys, right on track, keep it up!

Now, I know you probably have a scheduled release date for announcing more details but I'm pretty excited and have a few questions if you can answer, if not no worries..

1. Judging by the photos of your prints, your resin doesn't have pigment (typically used to block light bleed in Z) which I'm assuming means the material is not visible light but instead uv/laser sensitive?

2. Are you using a horizontal slide vat (left/right) to "peel" every exposure cycle from the vat OR are you doing a tilt/dip?

3. Are you using a PDMS type material on the bottom of the vat to prevent adhesion to the build table upon resin cure per cycle or a differnt system ? The reason I ask is because while this material/design is great for allowing oxygen to exist between the "business ends" it doesn't take long for the PDMS to cloud which requires it to be replaced (not difficult but kind of a pain). Hopefully you have a better approach to this system (or a quick modular way to replace these consumables on-the-fly in between print jobs in order to reduce machine down time/hassle).

4. Speaking of vats, is that acrylic/plexi or polycarbonate? Poly is stronger but is more expensive (not an issue unless you plan to have the vat be a consumable modular replacment for reasons discussed in number 3 above). Poly is also known to have bad reactions to some resins while the acrylic/plexi vats are cheaper but can only be cleaned with water since alchohol breaks it down causing the vat to eventually crack and leak.

5. Those prints look about 25-50 micron XY judging by the size of the dust and depth of field in the photos. Just a guess but is this right? If so do you plan on offering a fixed volume that is independent from resolution? (Meaning if a user chooses a higher resolution to achive more detail at a cost of more time it will hopefully not restrict the size as well). Basically some printers force the user to proportionally reduce the size of the build volume as the resolution is increased in XY.

6. Do you plan on using meshmixer for support structures/overhang analysis or is this where the Spark open platform comes into play (similar to twain 32 with 2d scanners of the past)? Cool either way just curious. If it's a standalone application your going for that's fine too, it's not difficult to export from Maya or Mud and it might make sense to consolidate all print functions into a focused software package that can be pushed/pulled via a bridge option in each package (ie. "send to" meshmixer, spark, etc.).

7. I have some pretty demanding designs that are a mix of mechanical and organic that I'd like to throw at the machine to help test the quality/reliability of the platform, is there a way contact you directly if we are interested in applying for a beta program to help put the machine through its paces?

Thanks again Autodesk! Great job and please keep us posted on all Spark as well as hardware related progress!!! Very exciting times!!


ewilhelm (author)  Landis2 years ago

Thanks for your kind words and support! Sorry for my late reply. We've been overwhelmed with interest.

1) Yes, we're using a UV sensitive resin.

2) and 3) We're totally aware of the issues and since we're still developing the materials, I don't want to commit to anything right now.

4) Design isn't finalized on the resin tray.

5) Actually those prints are 100 um XY. We're currently doing better.

6) Yes, the cool stuff in Meshmixer will be a part of Spark.

7) I'd love to print some stuff for you. Your feedback would be extremely helpful. Send me an email to figure out next steps.

Landis ewilhelm2 years ago

Thanks for the reply Eric! All sounds great! Super exciting. I'm sending you an email now! By the way, if you can say, how large is the build volume?