Say goodbye to plastic tchotchkes. Voxel8 is now taking preorders for its electronics-making 3D printer developer kit. The preorder also kicks off availability of Autodesk’s electronics design software, Project Wire.
The new device prints PLA and conductive silver ink, the latter of which allows the printer to embed wires into a 3D-printed device. The technology is based on years of research by Dr. Jennifer A. Lewis, a Voxel8 founder and Harvard University professor.
But the printer alone will not be able to make electronics. That’s why Voxel8 is partnering with Autodesk on Project Wire, software for designing 3D-printed electronics. The program runs on Autodesk’s Spark platform, an open source API that helps connect the many components of 3D printing.
“Project Wire is a new design tool under active development at Autodesk that provides electronics and 3D printing enthusiasts with the ability to place components, route 3D wires, and output multi-material print data for fabrication,” Autodesk explained in a blog post. Meaning the platform could potentially make circuit prototyping as easy as designing a 3D-printed figurine.
The new electronics printing hardware and software comes as many 3D printing companies are angling to make laser sintering more broadly available. Laser sintering uses lasers to fuse powdered material (metals, ceramics, glass) into 3D-printed designs. Though a wave of related patents have expired this year, we’re still not seeing a huge number of consumer-ready metal printing devices on the market.
That’s likely because making laser-sintering 3D printers is not an easy task. Take into consideration that metal also undergoes a chemical reaction when heated, making it questionably safe for a consumer environment, as GigaOm noted earlier this year.
Project Wire and Voxel8’s new desktop device could be an answer to many of those issues.
The unit is available today on Voxel8’s website. Those who want to get access to the desktop unit before anyone else can pay $8,999 for the privilege. Early adopters will also get double the provided materials and an additional printbed, plus better access to any future releases. Those who opt for the standard option will pay $8,499 for:
- Voxel8’s 3D electronics printer
- Access to Autodesk wire 3D electronics software
- Cloud slicing software with standard support
- Free shipping worldwide
- 2 x PLA filament spools, 1kg/spool
- 5 x conductive ink cartridges, 60m of length per cartridge