Until recently, virtually all consumer 3D printers utilized FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) technology, which is a 3D printing process that works by melting and extruding thermoplastic filament. But LCD-based SLA (stereolithography) 3D printing has been getting more and more accessible in the last few years. SLA 3D printers generally offer much better fine detail reproduction than their FFF counterparts, though that often comes at the cost of the build volume. That is because the LCD size and resolution need to be balanced, and printing resolution is usually favored. IBEE is a new SLA 3D printer with a 4K LCD and a generous build volume at an affordable price point.
IBEE just recently launched on Kickstarter and the campaign has already far exceeded the $50,000 funding goal. IBEE is being developed by Uniz Technology, a company that released their first SLA 3D printer, the Slash, through Kickstarter back in 2018. That printer had very mixed reviews, but Uniz is currently accepting preorders for the Slash 2 for $3,500. Uniz also launched their UNIZ-UDP technology on Kickstarter last month, which they claim can provide the world’s fastest SLA 3D printing at 700 millimeters per hour in the Z axis. IBEE does not feature that new UNIZ-UDP tech, and is instead designed to be an affordable SLA 3D printer for people looking to dip their toes in with this 3D printing process.
Despite its relatively low price point, IBEE has specifications that are superior to most of the other entry-level SLA 3D printers we’ve seen. Its standout feature is the large 192 x 120 x 200 mm (7.5 x 4.7 x 7.9 inch) build volume, which is significantly larger than most SLA 3D printers. That volume is possible thanks to the sizeable 4K LCD screen. The LCD’s high resolution gives the IBEE the ability to print at an X/Y resolution of 49.8 um. The layer thickness is adjustable from 25-100 um. The construction looks solid and the printer is made from a combination of CNC-milled cast aluminum and sheet metal. A number of features improve the ease-of-use, including a 4.3” color LCD touchscreen, built-in WiFi, and custom slicing software that is capable of automatically orienting models for the best results.
The specs certainly look good on paper, but it is yet to be seen how well IBEE performs in the real world. Reviewers, including us here at Hackster, haven not received test units at this time and so there is some risk in backing the campaign. That said, Uniz Technology has plenty of experience in bringing SLA 3D printers to market and we think it is likely that backers will receive printers. If, however, you want a proven SLA 3D printer, there are plenty of other options on the market.
If you want to get an IBEE SLA 3D printer, the Kickstarter campaign will be running until January 14th, 2021. Early birds can get one IBEE for $450 (the expected retail price is $999). Uniz states that rewards will be delivered in January of 2021.