Is AIO’s Zeus Really the King of the 3D Printing Gods?
In this final installment of the “Affordable Future” series, we take a look at one of the most undefined printers to hit the market as of late – AIO Robotics’ Zeus.
A Beautiful Printer
Stressing fashion, function, and price, the Zeus seems like the perfect 3D printing platform in theory. A self titled 3D printer, scanner, copier, and fax, the Zeus not only offers to do it all – it even offers to do some things that people had never heard of before.
While the Zeus is certainly the most expensive printer in this series – with the introductory package coming in at $2,000 – it certainly does a lot for that price. Moreover, the look of the machines is beautiful and strong, favoring a CNC-machined aluminum frame and metal enclosure over the plastic (or even wood) of many other Kickstarter printers.
Moreover, as the simple buttons on the front emphasize, the printer is designed to be easy to use. Place an item in the printer, hit scan, and it will scan it automatically. The principal is the same for copying, faxing, and printing too. Much like the Zim from our last post, then, the Zeus is a very user oriented 3D printer. Placing a high emphasis on both aesthetics and usability. Though perhaps not as much as they should have on price.
While AIO has provided what is arguably the most attractive printer to date – the statistics are about what you would expect from a +$1,000 3D printer.
The printer utilizes PLA-filament (1.75 mm) exclusively, and the layer depth is set at 100 microns, although 200 and 300 micron options are available for faster printing (click here for a nice example of how the different depths compare). This is about the best most PLA printers can provide, and is in-line with the Zeus’ main competitors in the personal printing market, including: Pirate3D’s Buccaneer, FlashForge’s Creator, MakerBot’s Replicator 2, and 3D Systems’ Cube X Series.
Zeus and Replicator 2 / Digitizer Comparison Chart
Two of the features that make the Zeus really stand out, however, are the Automatic Mesh Repair and the Auto-Bed Levelling. The Automatic Mesh Repair is a wonderful algorithm that fills in the gaps on 3D renderings of objects. This way the entire model is airtight and the printing will be supported and complete. While the Auto-Bed Levelling (which resident’s of old buildings will love) automatically adjusts the angle of the printing bed to ensure that the printing always takes place on a level surface.
The Affordable Future
The Zeus is attractive, inventive (3D faxing), and packed full of features that help it outsmart it’s leading competitors. And while it’s Kickstarter campaign didn’t bring-in much more than it’s initial goal of $100,000 (it ended at the entertaining number of $111,111), it still outshone many of the other 3D printers that have bet their future on crowdsourcing.
From the PeachyPrinter, to the Zim, and finally to the Zeus, there are a number of different personal printers popping up all over the world. Some are small, most are easy to use, and all of them come in at competitive market prices.
So if you are in the market for a personal 3D printer and would like to make the most of your money, consider any of the three options covered in this series. As they are the crème de la crème of recent innovation – and a sure sign of 3D printing’s ever brighter future.