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First Look at the Zortrax Inventure at the 3D Printshow Paris

Zortrax Inventure

ALL3DP gets hands on with the Zortrax Inventure, the latest (and perhaps greatest) 3D printer from the Polish manufacturer.

ultrat-plus-cartridgeAt the 3D Printshow in Paris last week, ALL3DP had an opportunity to take a closer look at the Zortrax Inventure, a new 3D printer that the Polish firm promises to release just before Christmas.

Zortrax, of course, is a familiar brand name to many in the 3D printing industry. Their first machine, the Zortrax M200, debuted on Kickstarter and generated $180,000 worth of backing.

Thereafter, they sold a tidy 5,000 machines to tech giant Dell, and the M200 continues to generate positive reviews on the 3D Hubs community.

Zortrax founders Karolina Bołądź, Rafał Tomasiak and Tomasz Drosio now seek to maintain their impressive momentum with the launch of the Inventure.

Like its storied predecessor, the Zortrax Inventure belongs to a closed 3D printing ecosystem, which includes proprietary filaments and their Z-SUITE software. It’s roughly the same size and shape as the M200, but the build volume is noticeably smaller at 130 x 130 x 130 mm.

A new signature feature, however, is the Dissolvable Support System (DSS). Users can now print objects with soluble supports, offering more possibilities for complicated models with moving parts. The finished print won’t require manual processing at all; the support material is simply dissolved by immersing the model in water for several hours.

The Inventure also features a stable printing temperature within a closed heated chamber, which they promise will guarantee greater precision for completed models. And if you’re worried about stinky odors from the ABS material, the closed-case system boasts a HEPA filter to ensure safe operation.

Gone are the rolls of filament, replaced with a plug-in cartridge system for easy removal or replacement of printing materials. An embedded display, meanwhile, provides a notification system so the user can monitor the printing process start to finish.

Zortrax has also developed a new printing material for this cartridge system, Z-ULTRAT Plus, a thermoplastic for objects that require high precision and durability. Perfect, in other words, for pre-production prototypes that simulate the features of a final product.

Our Impressions of the Zortrax Inventure

Zortrax InventureThe Zortrax Inventure is a curious beast. As an evolution of the M200, it reaffirms the company’s commitment to ABS materials, and the proprietary ecosystem is entrenched even further with the cartridge system.

The benefits of a proprietary ecosystem, as any Apple fan will tell you, is that the interoperability of hardware and software is secure and stable. Ease of use is also a major benefit.

But it also means that potential customers are locked into Zortrax products without the flexibility or cheaper solutions that open source software and hardware might provide.

It’s interesting also, that while the dimensional footprint of the machine is the same as the M200, or an Ultimaker machine (for comparison), the build volume has been significantly reduced.

Presumably this is to accommodate the inclusion of the heated chamber and the HEPA filter, both of which enhance the accuracy and safety credentials of the machine. The odor of melted ABS is truly foul, unwelcome in any office or classroom environment, and the Inventure is a step in the right direction if your particular needs are married to ABS.

Overall, we would speculate that the sale of 5,000 M200 machines to Dell was beneficial to more than just the Zortrax bottom line. They’ve probably harvested user data and feedback from their biggest customer and fed that into the design of the Inventure. It certainly wouldn’t look amiss in a corporate or enterprise environment.

Zortrax reps told ALL3DP that the Inventure is the first in a new line of machines to debut next year. Pricing of this particular unit hasn’t been locked down yet, but it will be “slightly” more expensive than the M200, which currently retails for $2,000.

So what do you think? Would you be tempted by the Zortrax Inventure?