Ludwig Färber, founder of Next Dynamics, is not looking to Santa Claus to deliver him what he wants. Instead, he’s turning to Kickstarter to make his dream a reality.
Based in Berlin, Ludwig believes he has a winning idea for a 3D printer. Actually, Ludwig’s NexD1 (pronounced Next One), is not just an idea. It exists as a solid, tangible, working prototype — now in its fourth iteration. He recently flew to the Silicon Valley — the hunting ground for venture capitalists and angel investors — to demonstrate the machine to the press and tech industry insiders.
There’s good reason to believe Christmas might come early for Ludwig. His Kickstarter campaign officially launched this morning. At midday, it has already scooped up $116,000 — more than half of the $212,000 he’s seeking.
People who contribute €2,348 (about U.S. $2,480) — or more — are effectively buying the machine in advance. Next Dynamics promises to deliver the unit to those contributors in the winter of 2017. When the machine goes on sale, it’s expected to sell for $5,000.
Ludwig and his colleagues describe the NexD1 as “the first 3D printer to ever give high end prototyping capabilities to everyone by making Multi-Material, 3D Electronics printing, extreme precision, high reliability and fast printing times available in one exciting machine. ”
One of its notable features is the ability to print PCB elements right into the surface of the design.
“The idea started three years ago as a project to print PCBs,” said Ludwig in his interview with DE in San Francisco. “The PCBs will be printed using a special conductive material, made from copper and silver with nano particles.”
The first generation of NexD1 is built to print from three liquid-filled cartridges. The next versions are expected to work with six cartridges.
Next Dymamics writes, “We developed our own, highly precise and cost efficient print head, through which the NexD1 can achieve a precision of 10 microns at a very high speed. Each of the six piezo printheads has 200 liquid-jetting-nozzles with a diameter of 5 microns. A preheating system ensures a super precise flow and accurate deposition of the material that gets cured by a wide and high powered UV-laser after each layer.”
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is no longer a novelty. It has been integrated into mainstream engineering projects. Therefore, newcomers breaking into the market need a new twist or angle. Integrated PCB printing is among the innovations that can inject new blood into the printer market.
PCB-printable systems like NexD1 or DragonFly from Nano Dimension can spawn a new generation of flexible, wearable devices with surface-embedded circuitry (different from placing circuitry inside the device as a separate component, part of the assembly).