There’s a new 3D printer on the block, and it looks intriguing. The device, called Trinus, doubles as a laser engraver and claims to be the first professional-grade 3D printer for under $500.
Trinus is being produced by San Francisco-based startup Kodama, which is launching its Kickstarter campaign today. The company was founded by industrial designer Bojan Smiljanic. In his business creating consumer products Smiljanic had a need to create high quality prototypes, but tight budgets made it difficult to spend $2,000 or more on an industrial 3D printer that would require constant maintenance and upgrades.
So he sent his prototype designs to third-party 3D printing companies, but found the quality and timeliness of these services to be less than ideal. This experience inspired him to develop Trinus, a fast, reliable, high-quality 3D printer made entirely of quality metal components.
“I wanted to make a machine that I would use as a product designer,” says Smiljanic. “With its speed, precision, and versatility, Trinus fits the bill. The prototype printer in my office has been running 24/7 since November, with no technical failures yet.”
Trinus is designed for durability, quality and low maintenance. Made entirely from high-end aluminum and steel, it is a scaled down version of industrial-grade machines. It has a single-axis slider and is designed so that parts stay in place and the machine doesn’t require constant re-calibration.
The company says that Trinus will maintain quality printing up to print speeds of 70 mm/sec but is capable of running at a maximum speed of 150 mm/sec. With a minimum layer height of 50 microns, prints should come out clean and smooth.
The Trinus has a modular, “transformer” design. The 3D printing head can be removed and quickly exchanged with a laser engraver. The company plans to introduce a third head as well (hence the name “Trinus”, Latin for “triple”). Kodama is working on modules for a dual extruder, a paste extruder, and a CNC router.
The unit comes as a kit that requires assembly. The modular design allows for quick assembly, even by someone with no technical experience. The company claims most users will be able to put it together within 30 minutes.
Trinus comes with its own proprietary software called Pango, which is designed for speed. However, users will be able to use other applications in addition to driving the printer using standard G-code.
In addition to traditional PLA filament, Trinus is capable of printing with exotic materials, such as flexible, polycarbonate, wood, and aluminum filaments. Each printer will come with starter filament from Polymaker, but customers are free to use filaments from other vendors.
Other options available include an enclosure case and a heated print bed to allow for printing with ABS and polycarbonate (PC).
- Print volume: 120mm x 125mm x 125mm (4.7 x 4.9 x 4.9 inches)
- Print speed: up to 70 mm/sec | Moving speed: up to 150 mm/sec
- Minimum layer height: 0.05mm (50 microns)
- Print material: 1.75mm PLA, ABS, PC, flex, wood, aluminum
- OS supported: Windows, Mac
- Connectivity: USB, SD Card (autoprint)
- Power consumption: 60W
- Weight: 9.8kg
The Trinus is a promising new entrant in a crowded 3D printer space. It offers a compelling set of capabilities at a very attractive price point. The solid construction and professional grade specs should allow users to create high quality parts in a variety of materials with a low total cost of ownership. We can see it gaining traction not only from its primary target market in the professional space but also from hobbyists and enthusiasts. The only drawback we see is a relatively small print volume just under 5 x 5 x 5 inches. (The company says it is planning to test an extension that will allow for a larger print volume without detracting from quality.)
The biggest question will be whether Kodama can deliver on the promise of the Trinus. The company’s strategy is to maintain a low margin on the main unit while selling add-ons like the interchangeable heads, heated print bed and enclosure at higher margins. That seems like a sound approach so long as the company has sufficient financing runway to get to profitability.
Sound business and operational management will also be key for Kodama to succeed. To that end they’ve done a smart thing by partnering with established industry players including electronics and manufacturing firm Flextronics, filament maker Polymaker and Chinese 3D printer maker Panowin.
Recent 3D printer funding efforts like OLO and SLASH have been very successful. OLO in particular blew past its Kickstarter goal in 30 minutes and now sits at $1.5 million, well above its modest $80,000 goal. We believe this interest in funding of 3D printer companies, combined with the compelling value proposition for Trinus, bodes well for Kodama’s campaign.
Starting today, Trinus is available on Kickstarter for $299. The first 100 backers will get a Super Early Bird price of $199. Pledge shipments are planned for the July/August timeframe.
Following the Kickstarter, the company plans to sell Trinus directly through its own online store. A company spokesperson said the eventual retail price will be either $349 or $399.