XYZPrinting Nobel 1.0: First SLA 3D printer for the masses

XYZPrinting unveils its first high-end Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) 3D printer at CES 2015. It costs $1,499, significantly less than others using the same 3D printing technology.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read

The Nobel 1.0 at CES 2015. Dong Ngo/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- If traditional 3D printers, such as the Da Vinci 1.0 AiO or the Ultimaker 2, are too slow for you (and they do take a long time to create an object!), there are 3D printers that use Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) technology that are a lot faster. These printers, however, have been cost-prohibitive for general consumers -- until now, thanks to XYZPrinting.

The maker of the Da Vinci today unveiled at CES 2015 its first SLA 3D printer, the Nobel 1.0. It's the first on the market to retail at $1,499, which is significantly less than any other 3D printer of its type.

Traditional 3D printers use fused filament fabrication (FFF) that melts plastic to build 3D objects. SLA, on the other hand, uses liquid ultraviolet-curable photopolymer, called resin, and an ultraviolet laser to build a 3D object, layer by layer. For each layer, the laser beam traces a cross-section of the object's pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. When exposed to the ultraviolet laser light, the resin cures and solidifies to slowly form the 3D object.

In other words, if FFF printers are the inkjets of 3D printing, then SLA 3D printers are the laser printers.

XYZPrinting Nobel 1.0 Specs

Technique: SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus)
Printer dimensions: 11'' x 13'' x 23.8'' (280 x 345 x 594 mm)
Weight: 20 pounds (9kg)
Display: 2.6-inch touchscreen
Light source: UV Laser λ 405nm (100mW)
Connectivity: USB wire
Build size: 5'' x 5'' x 7.9'' (128 x 128 x 200 mm)
Power requirements: 100-240V 50/60Hz 60W
Layer thickness: X/Y axis resolution: 0.3mm (300 Microns)/ Z axis: 0.025mm (25 Microns)
Print material: Photopolymer resin
Resin supply: Auto-refilling
Resin bottle capacity: 500ml
Software: XYZware
Operating system: Windows XP (.Net 4.0 required), Windows 7+ (for PC), Mac OS X 10.8 (for Mac)
File types: STL, XYZ format, .gcode

XYZPrinting says that the Nobel 1.0's strength is not only its speed but also the quality of the print, capable of delivering print resolution of up to 25 microns. From the demo prints I've seen, the quality was indeed a huge leap forward from those printed by the Da Vinci or any other 3D printers I've reviewed. It was hard to believe that they were 3D-printed objects.

The Da Vinci Junior 3D Printer. Dong Ngo/CNET

The Nobel 1.0 sports a resin-filling mechanism, meaning it can provide stable SLA printing quality without users having to add liquid resin constantly throughout the printing process. On top of that, it can also print large objects of up to 5 inches long by 5 inches wide by 7.9 inches high (128 x 128 x 200 mm).

Like the Da Vinci, the Nobel 1.0 is pre-assembled and will work right out of the box. It also uses XYZWare software and supports standard 3D model files.

For those thinking the Nobel 1.0's price is still too high, XYZPrinting also announced a new budget FFF 3D printer, the Da Vinci Junior 3D Printer, which costs $349.

The Da Vinci Junior 3D Printer will be available in the second quarter of this year and the Nobel 1.0 will ship in the third quarter. Check back then for their full reviews.