aha!3D: Jaipur-based industrial grade 3D printer makers

Aakash, a gold medallist of MNIT Jaipur 2002 batch got a taste of entrepreneurship when he joined Vihaan Networks in 2005. Before that, he had two smaller stints with C-DOT and Mentor Graphics. A curious mind, Aakash always had pet projects he’d work on. While working on his projects, he became aware of the limitations of conventional mechanical prototyping. Around 2009, he came across the RepRap project which had begun as an initiative to develop a 3D printer that can print most of its own components and be a low-cost 3D printer. This really spiked his interest and in 2010, he decided to start his own company AHA Gadgets which was later rebranded to aha!3D.

The idea was to develop indigenous 3D printers dedicated to the needs of Indian market. “Our first product Reality 3D, which also became India’s first indigenous 3D printer, was appreciated a lot at various platforms. The scope in this field motivated us to take this as full time work,” says Aakash. Aha!3D specialises in industrial 3D printers with a focus on reliability, repeatability, and ruggedness. The company also provides 3D printing services to customers wherein people can send their designs to get them prototyped.

Team aha!3D
Team aha!3D

Aha!3D has two products in the market, one catering to the desktop 3D printing segment and another to large-build volume shop-floor 3D printing segment. Their ProtoCentre 999 is the desktop 3D printer with a build volume of 9x9x9 cubic inches. It is a desktop model and comes with all features to provide an industrial quality output. “It comes with all metal chassis, closed chamber heated bed assembly with dual extruders. It has a printable range of materials including ABS, PC, HIPS, PLA, PETT and Nylon, apart from newer special materials like brassFill, woodFill, and other composite materials,” says Aakash.

And the ProtoCentre 1M alpha was introduced as a pilot product with selected technical partners (build volume of 30x20x40 inches cube, quad water cooled extruder and state of the art control software). “There are various low cost 3D printer available in market but they have too many limitations which are not acceptable in professional grade machines. Our entire research is dedicated to provide viable industrial grade machines, offering unparalleled return on investment,” says Aakash.

All aha!3D parts are made in India and the team follows a “soft inventory” concept where they keep digital designs for 5% parts which are 3D printed just-in-time when needed.

aha!3D evolution

Completely bootstrapped, aha!3D is proud to call itself “customer funded”. Adobe India bought Reality3D, the first version of their 3D printer when Adobe was in the process to develop a postscript equivalent for 3D printers. ISRO’s team which worked on the Mangalyaan also bought a PC999. They use it for making prototypes to test and validate their designs of the mechanical components. DRDO’s MTRDC Bangalore lab, which researches on microwaves, also bought PC 999 from aha!3D. “Our customers have graciously given us problems to solve and trusted our team to come up with the right solution,” says Akash. The desktop printer comes with a price tag of Rs 2,00,000. The industrial version is a custom made printer which is designed according to the demand of customers. Apart from selling 3D printers, the company also makes money from the 3D printing services it provides.

3D printing has attracted a lot of attention globally. With over $100 million in funding, Carbon3D is a benchmark company in the space and Shapeways, another upcoming giant in the space raised $30 million in July this year. Back home in India, Fracktal Works raised a round at $3 million valuation, there are other companies like df3dGlobal3D, etc., making headway. For aha!3D, it has been an exciting journey. Their team has expanded to 12 members and consists of experts on all aspects of machine design. Talking of the road ahead, Aakash says, “We are introducing a new application of 3D printing for the Indian scenario. We want to be the reason for adoption of 3D printing in mainstream life of India and also get India recognised for fundamental innovation on the global map.”

Sixteen year old builds his own open source 3D printer

With so much information on the internet everyday it is no surprise to us that our young 3D printing technology loving geniuses are trying out to build a DIY open source 3D printer through downloadable tutorial files from Thingiverse or Instructables.

Recently, Johannes Rostek, a sixteen-year old high-school student from Germany,  designed his own 3D printer., which he calls, the Valcanus V1 3D Printer, with just 300 euros.

valcanus v1 3D printerJohannes walked a few miles extra to give his RepRap open source 3D printer a professional look by using metal components to build it.

Valcanus v1 partsThe 44 cm x 44 cm x 60 cm Valcanus V1 3D printer is based on CORE-XY mechanical designwhich makes the printer easier to carry and also to print faster without affecting the resolution of the 3D printed.

Valcanus v1 in motionThe printer is capable of printing at the speed of 300 mm/s at a resolution of 0.5 mm or greater. The build volume is about 20 x 20 x 26 cms. This build is big enough to produce objects of decent size among other desktop level 3D printers.

It´s an example of how open source trend is becoming more and more usefull everyday, and how young people can make real his own projects.


Indian 3D Printing company Aha 3D Launches ProtoCentre 1M Industrial Grade Printer

 Indian tech company Aha 3D , founded in 2010,  has launched the ProtoCentre 1M, the company’s flagship industrial-grade 3D printer.

The company says their engineers and developers take on all aspects of machine design, embedded firmware, application software, core electronics, and mechatronics. They add that they also have a network of outside consultants who handle design for optimum manufacturing, ergonomics, and human factors of their machines.

Aakash, CEO of Aha 3D

 ProtoCentre 1M can build objects up to 1 meter in height, makes use of a water cooled quad-extruder print head, and includes a long list of user-friendly features. Aha 3D Innovations says it’s their PrintProtect feature which is critical to the device’s filament management, filament jam prevention, and monitoring of power outages.

According to Aakash, the founder of Aha 3D Innovations, his company launched India’s first, fully-indigenous 3D printer in 2012 and the first dual extruder printer with soluble support 3D printer in 2013.

He says “intelligent diagnostics software” can also remind users of the need for periodic maintenance tasks and regularly monitors all functions of the device. The company says standard interfaces like a touch screen, WiFi, and remote monitoring come standard with the ProtoCentre 1M.


Spiderbot’s new dual extruder based 3D Printer

Spiderbot, a small French company has enjoyed popularity amongst private, academic and business customers with their current model of the SpiderBot Delta 3D printer. This printer can work with ABS en PLA materials and has a printing capability of 18 cm wide by 18 cm tall. It’s success is largely thanks to innovations to their original extrusion system. For while most printers include an extruder with six attachment points, their SpiderBot Delta on has three, thanks to their TSS system.

This system, short for Three Sphere System, consists of a combination of three spherical magnets and six carbon tubes that move the extrusion head with great precision. As two tubes are attached to one magnet, the support plate doesn’t tilt or wobble. Not only does this system allow for perfect positioning of the extrusion head, the magnetic connection can also be easily broken by applying the right amount of force, allowing for easy maintenance.

Now, Spiderbot is aiming to build a printer that transfers this effective method to a double extrusion system. And after almost a year of developing, designing and testing, numerous mishaps and 7 prototypes, they have settled for a particular system of rotating nozzles. This design aims to avoid any contact between the nozzles and the printed filament, even when they are rotating and switching positions. While some testing is still on-going, the innovative couple are confident that they will be able to release their latest model before the end of the year; the beta tests are already planned.

What is the new Innovation?

As explained by Spiderbot – “Important improvements have been made compared to a standard dual head and the earlier shown design. We discovered that the second head often touched the object when printing and even if you retract the material of the inactive nozzle, there is often a small amount of material on the nozzle tip that can leave traces, to prevent this, a radical design change was required, we came up with a completely new dual head with rotating support and inclinated nozzles, which will avoid the unused nozzle hitting the object during printing.

So effectively, when head #1 is printing material , the second head is rotated away from the print area and can’t damage or mark the object and vice versa, when head #2 is printing support material, head#1 will be rotated away. 

More information on this subject, can be found here.

Sintratec – Affordable SLS 3D printer to be launched soon…

A few days ago, we reported the launch of Ice9 and Ice1 3D printers by Norge Systems, these SLS 3D printers, as proclaimed by Norge Systems – “are the first truly affordable SLS 3D printers for small and medium businesses”. However, as it seems, Norge is not the only contender on the affordable SLS 3D printers, stable.

Sintratec – a Switzerland based company is currently developing a desktop DIY SLS 3D printer, and the forecasted price is almost ½ of the Ice1, which is Norge Systems cheapest model.

What is a SLS 3D Printer?

“Selective Laser Sintering” is one of the oldest 3D printing technology around. It uses laser as the power source to sinter powdered material to create a solid structure. Unlike some other additive manufacturing processes, such as fused deposition modeling (FDM), SLS does not require support structures and can produce parts with fine details.

While there are many desktop 3D printers on the market, most of these printers use a FDM method, not SLS. SLS is often more expensive than FDM machine: a professional SLS 3D printer starts at around 200,000€.

About Sintratec and the Launch:

Sintratec is a Switzerland based company, founded by electrical engineers Joscha Zeltner, Christian Von Burg, and Dominik Solenicki. The Trio have been working on this DIY SLS 3D printer project since 2012.

Sintratec plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in October 2014, with a price that everyone can afford: 3,999€ ($5,277) for backers. Their goal is to raise money to ship at least 60 of the SLS 3D printer kits worldwide.

Do they have a DIY SLS 3D Printer Prototype?

Sintratec does have a working DIY SLS 3D printer prototype, up its sleeves. The current prototype, code named –”Bobby”, is built in sturdy aluminium, foam glass and steel and features 130mm cubed print volume. One main feature to keep the cost down is that they use a compact diode laser intead of CO2 laser commonly used in current SLS 3D printers. Sintratec’s prototype DIY SLS 3D printer uses a diode laser (445nm, blue) with an output power of over 2W. To get a good laser spot they use also beam correction optics. The compact diode laser is much cheaper than CO2 laser and pumps solid-state lasers in the visible spectral region for a more safe operation.

This is all we have for now, for more updates on Sintratec and their new DIY SLS 3D printer, please follow their website.

Note: URL links above have been shortened with “p.pw” – URL Shortening Service. They are clean and safe to browse.

The new Alta 3D printer from Polarworks

Polarworks, the company behind the Alta 3D printer, is the collaborative effort of Norwegian production and design company Bengler, mechanical engineer Thomas Boe-Wiegaard and industrial design students Hans Jakob Føsker and Alexandre Chappel. The launch of Polarworks was announced in early 2014, along with its intention of developing an ‘extravagantly simple and efficient 3D printer’. Things have been quiet since then, until a promising prototype was revealed at last weekend’s Maker Faire Trondheim.

What was shown, was the prototype of a simple but elegantly designed printer, that is quiet and unorthodox. There is no X and Y axis, as it shifts all the mechanical complexities that accompanies their movement to software. Instead, those movements are all executed by a single linear arm and a rotational disk. And interestingly, the Alta Polarworks should be compatible with all usually used software and STL formats.

The ambition to build this printer grew out of the simple but highly adaptable software GRBL, written by Bengler’s in-house ‘tinkerer’ Simen Svale Skogsrud. This software quickly became a staple for various ‘maker machines’ like laser cutters and writing hardware, but is also used for operating various CNC mills and the popular and open source 3D firmware Marlin. ‘It [GRBL] worked for us – it ran a little CNC mill we used to have in our office – and has also worked for hundreds of other DIY projects that shape by cutting with metal, burning with lasers or laying down minute quantities of molten plastic.’

However, Simen has long since wanted to incorporate it into 3D printers which could be, or so he felt, constructed much easier. ‘He came upon the idea of using two rotational axis instead of a gantries for the X and Y axis. This cuts part count radically and makes the printer nearly silent. No linear bearings, no timing belts, no gears. Just a few slabs of solid metal and precision motors. It also looks excellent when the printer draws a completely straight line by twisting around.’

In the past few months, the team behind Polarworks have been silently trying to realize this printer, after students Føsker and Chappel, along with engineer Boe-Wiegaard blew new life into their ambition.

And while both the design and the promises made are certainly drawing our attention, we’ll have to wait for more pictures and promotional videos before we can endorse the Alta Polarworks’ innovations. Their Kickstarter – that will be aiming for approximately $1500 – will start within the next few months, so we hope to be able to present an update on this interesting 3D printer in the near future.

LeWihe 3D printer launches on IndieGoGo

Spanish Company LeWihe , announced their new Indiegogo campaign for their latest 3D printer, today. Lewihe has been founded by Juan Tendero, Jordi Tendero and Jose Manuel Quiles, who have been working hard in the last 14 months to make an affordable 3D printer capable of producing high quality 3D prints.

The Lewihe 3D printer features aluminum chassis and a large print area of 185 x 185 x 185 mm (7.28 x 7.28 x 7.28 in). It uses SAV MKI electronics developed by Francisco Malpartida, a one stop electronics to get your 3D printer up and running. This affordable 3D printer electronics has multiple interfacing possibilities: it features high speed native USB interface connectivity going up to 8Mbps so that there is no lag on your prints. It includes 12V built-in fan controller for hot end cooling, micro SD reader for autonomous printing, expansion bus to connect a keyboard and LCD. It supports for 4 standard pololu compatible stepper motor drivers. The Lewihe 3D printer is capable of printing with FilaFlex with the speed of 150mm/sec, and according to its creators, their next goal is to increase the print speed to 200mm/sec.

One unique feature is that the printer is designed to work directly with flexible filament such as FilaFlex. The Lewihe stainless steel extruder can print with both flexible and rigid materials and is compatible with other printers such as Prusa i3.

The team is offering 50 units of Lewihe 3D printer kit for $499 on indiegogo to super early brid adopters. The Lewihe kit version will cost $799 and an assembled Lewihe 3D printer is priced at $995. In addition the company also offers a Lewihe Pro version ($1,195) which includes WiFi and webcam, a useful feature to remote control and get visual feedback, when you are not in front of the 3D printer.

Ice1 & Ice9 – new SLS 3D printers from Norge Systems

While there are many desktop 3D printers on the market, most of these printers use a FDM method, not SLS. SLS is often more expensive than FDM machine: a professional 3D SLS printer starts around 200,000€. However there are some inventors out there who want to build their own affordable laser sintering 3D printers. “Selective Laser Sintering” is one of the oldest 3D printing technology around. It uses laser as the power source to sinter powdered material to create a solid structure. Unlike some other additive manufacturing processes, such as fused deposition modeling (FDM), SLS does not require support structures and can produce parts with fine details.

UK based company Norge Systems started working on their project two years ago. Their goal is to build “the world’s first low-budget but high quality SLS printer that even a small or medium design studio can afford. Easy to use, small and with a nice design.” In the last eight months, team member Lica Venri, Design, electronics and laser optics experts; Alessandro Facchini, 3D artist and software developer, and Stefano Rebecchi have been working hard on developing software and optimizing supply chain and assembling process. They have finally come up with two new SLS 3D printer: Ice9 and Ice1. What makes their SLS printers interesting, apart from price/technology ratio, is the build volume. The Ice9 has a working area of 30x30cm, and a “z-axis” of 45cm, and the small Ice1 has a 20x20x25cm build volume which are big enough to print lots of full-scale prototypes without the need to resize them to fit the printers volume limits.

The Ice9 SLS 3D Printer

The Ice9 is a low-budget SLS 3D printer designed for printing plastics models (nylon or Ployamide based materials). One interesting feature of the Ice9 SLS printer is the engraving/cutter function. You will be able to draw or cut materials such as wood, paper, foam, or even felt.


SLS 3D Printer with 40W tube laser
Works with polyamide or nylon powder
30x30x45cm build volume
Arduino 2 powered controller
Multifunction display for quick operations
USB port
SD card reader
Sleek design, solid rock build, UK assembled
Navigator software for sending prints to the machine


Printer size: 1500x1025x410mm
Layer thickness: 0.1 – 0.15mm
Average print speed: 10 to 30mm/hour
Powder feeding mode: Two-way powder feed system
Scanning system: Theta lens focusing, high-accuracy magnetic encoder
Scan speed during build process: up to 4 m/s
Laser power control system: PWM Digital signal
Power Supply: 230VAC50/60Hz5KVA
Software: Manual and automatic control mode; Real-time build parameters modification; Three-dimensional Visualization; Open Source Platforms

The Ice1 SLS 3D Printer

The Ice1 the desktop version of Ice9 SLS 3D printer and will be priced lower.


Printer size: 900x300x350mm
Layer thickness: 0.1 – 0.15mm
Average print speed: 8 to 25mm/hour
Scanning system: Theta lens focusing, high-accuracy magnetic encoder
Scan speed during build process: up to 3 m/s

SLS printing technology allows a wide range of materials to be used to build your prototypes. Norge Systems has up to now tested their Ice9 and Ice1 with Arzauno PA2200 Polyamide, Windform,XT,Duraform serie material and CastFormTM PS plastic.

The company is currently planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign for Ice1 and Ice9 on August 18, 2014, to bring high quality 3D printing to your desktop. The SLS printers will be available on the market on the third quarter of 2015.

Blacksmith Genesis – All-in-One 3D printer

Founded on the necessity for a home-friendly 3D liar, Singapore based Blacksmith has come up with an all-in-one 3D printing machine. Their product, Blacksmith Genesis packs a load-full of options and is designed to be a 3D printer + scanner + copier, the Blacksmith Genesis may be a FDM (fused deposition modeling) based 3D printer created for everybody to use. Blacksmith is an initiative by Pui Tze Hsian, PhD, and is presently incubated at NTU (Nanyang Technological University) in Singapore.

Measuring 35cm x 25cm x 41cm, Blacksmith Genesis is compact and fits well in your home. Whereas most 3D printers use a Cartesian (XYZ) platform, Blacksmith uses rotary printing mechanism, which operates the same way as an old school record player. Throughout printing process, the print platform rotates unceasingly in a clockwise direction whereas the extruder moves radially. This style halves the space that the extruder has to move, permitting the printer to print giant objects and also the rotating platform is ideal for integration of 3D scanning, for remodeling or copying purposes.

The 3D scanning capability permits you to simply scan physical models and make 3D objects, all on one platform. Blacksmith Genesis comes with an in-built camera that has automatic error detection throughout printing. It permits you to watch your 3D printing via your smartphone. If you want to prevent printing, you’ll do therefore at the press of a button.

Blacksmith Genesis is a plug-n-play device, solely requiring around ten minutes’ nominal installation. Its clear cylindrical printing stage offers one hundred eighty degrees of uninterrupted read. It additionally comes with free and easily planning computer code permitting everybody to style objects, with no in depth 3D modeling data needed. The printer is compatible with most trade file sorts which may be connected via USB.


3D Printing

  • Technology: Fused Deposition Modeling with Rotary Platform
  • Build Volume: 6648 cm3 (23 cm / 9.1 inch Diameter, 16 cm / 6.3 inch Height)
  • Layer Resolution: 50-200 microns
  • Filament: PLA, 1.75 mm diameter
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm
  • Print File Type: .STL, .OBJ

3D Scanning

  • Technology: Laser Triangulation
  • Scan Volume: 6648 cm3 (23 cm / 9.1 inch Diameter, 16 cm / 6.3 inch Height)
  • Scan Speed: Approx. 6 minutes
  • Steps per Rotation: 1200 steps
  • Camera: 3.1 MP CMOS Image Sensor
  • Exported File Type: .STL, .OBJ

The Blacksmith Genesis is set to launch on the 12 of August, 2014; more information can be found here.

TeeBotMax – Portable 3D printer

Emmanuel Adetutu, designer and developer of open supply “TeeBot” 3D printer, has released an improved version of the printer, known as ‘TeeBotMax‘. The idea was to style and build a portable 3D printer that is easy to assemble, straightforward to maneuver around and travel with, and resistant to corrosive materials.

E. Adetutu works in Veldhoven, European country as an information analyst and lives in another town. “TeeBotMax was designed as a hobby project besides my day work, as a result of I required a transportable and powerful printer to travel with.” Adetutu commented. The TeeBotMax is made with a robust frame and basic RepRap components. “My hope is that it’ll be a simple to make however terribly robust 3D printer.” Adetutu mentioned. Adetutu’s project has been praised by many manufacturers and their open source non portable 3D printers, like Josef Prusa (Prusa I3), Emmanuel Gilloz (FoldaRap), Richard Horne (Richrap), Reifsnyderb (J head Hotend) and lots of others.

The TeeBotMax is portable 3D printer, which implies that it can be collapsed into flat movable bed for simple storage, and carrying around. Apart from the foldability, the TeeBotMax can be compared to a RepRap 3D printer that includes an outsized build envelope of 200 x 200 x 250mm. The scale of the assembled printer is 500 x 500 x 530 millimetre, and it’ll be 530 x 400 x 180 millimetre once it’s closed up. Designed to be ultra-portable, the weight of device is just 7kg.

Adetutu has released the TeeBotMax source code and design materials as open source on his web site. “Friends adore it and need it…” Adetutu said. He has conjointly created a step by step document on the way to build or assemble TeeBotMax portable 3D printer to make it simple and straightforward for everybody.