Autodesk has been a big player in the CAD market for nearly as long as such a market has existed. The advent of additive manufacturing (AM) created additional market space for the company, and resulted in new products designed specifically for AM. The one area of the 3D printer market Autodesk had previously left to other companies was hardware.
News that the company had plans in place to build its own AM system first broke last year. Autodesk showed off a prototype design, and announced plans to operate on open source footing, labeling its forthcoming Ember as a development tool, rather than a dedicated manufacturing platform. Now, the Ember “Explorer Edition” package has arrived and is available for sale.
The Ember is a desktop stereolithography (SLA) system, similar to the FORM 1, though it uses digital light processing rather than a more traditional laser. Technical specs are as follows:
- Build Envelope: 64 x 40 x 134 mm (2.52 x 1.57 x 5.28 in.)
- X/Y Resolution: 50 microns
- Z Resolution: 25 microns
- Build Speed: 15mm/hr at 25 micron layer height
If we were to compare the Ember to the FORM 1, we’d find it has a slightly smaller envelope, but slightly improved resolution. Unlike Formlabs, however, Autodesk does more than build 3D printers. The Ember comes with the Spark platform, which Autodesk has invested a fair bit of cash into building.
The Explorer Edition is priced at $5,995 and is shipped with two 1 liter bottles of clear resin, a finishing kit, Autodesk technical support and access to the Ember Explorer Forum. According to the company, the packaged deal is limited in number, and shipping lead time is approximately four weeks. US customer should begin receiving orders soon, and Europeans will begin seeing the Ember by April.
Below you’ll find a video about the Ember.