SLA (stereolithography) 3D printers are great for printing models with fine detail, as the print quality is usually a lot higher than the FFF (fused filament fabrication) 3D printers most hobbyists purchase. But, until recently, SLA 3D printers have been notoriously expensive. Now, you can purchase the all-metal Paladin Air SLA 3D printer for just $299.
There are two models available through the Kickstarter campaign: the $359 Paladin and the $299 Paladin Air (both prices are for super early birds). The only difference between the two is that the Paladin offers auto leveling and auto resin refilling.
Both models utilize an “industrial level” 1080p LCD and have a maximum print volume of 150 x 130 x 73 mm. The XY resolution is 50 μm and the Z resolution is 10 μm, with a print speed of 60 mm per hour. The body is constructed from aluminum, and the dual Z-axis rails provide additional stability. Both models even have a built-in air purifier to help with the strong odor of the resin.
In the long run, that resin will likely be the be your biggest cost when compared to an FFF 3D printer. Prices range from $39 to $120 per liter of resin, depending on the type you choose. There is a standard resin, a more durable “touch” resin, a flexible resin, and a castable resin. Fortunately, the standard and touch resins are the most affordable, and what you’ll likely use most.
To print a model, you use the custom Paladin software to process an STL file. Then copy the G-code to a USB drive and plug it into the printer. Both Paladin models have an integrated touchscreen interface that you can use to get the print started and monitor the progress, which Paladin has optimized for ease of use.
The Paladin Kickstarter campaign is running until January 25th, 2019, and is already at almost double its funding goal. Rewards are expected to ship in April of 2019.