LAS VEGAS - 3D printers are wonderful educational tools. But because they have a lot of moving parts, some of which get quite hot during the printing process, they’re not always the most child-safe. The Afinia H800 was designed to address those concerns: targeted at educators as well as 3D printing enthusiasts, the H800 combines high-quality printing with a safe design including a HEPA air filter.
Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, the H800 will cost $1,899. On Afinia’s website, people can join a wait list to be able to preorder the printer. The first round of printers will ship this May.
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The Afinia H800 is a plug-and-play printer, meaning almost no setup is required to use it. To send files to print, simply plug the H800 into a computer via its USB port. Unlike Afinia’s earlier 3D printer, the H480 has a fully enclosed print area, with a door on the front that helps ensure the printing process is not interrupted by flyaway fingers.
The Afinia H800 also features a larger build volume than its predecessor, at 10 x 8 x 8 inches, meaning users can print objects of a larger size. Printing in ABS and PLA plastic, the Afinia H800 can reach layer resolutions as narrow as 100 microns, which is typical for consumer and prosumer 3D printers.
Another of Afinia's safety features is its HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) air filters inside the print area. ABS plastic, a common 3D printing material, often gives off a harsh smell when it's melted and used in the printing process. This smell can be so strong that some people report getting headaches from it.
But the Afinia H800's HEPA filters catch that smell before it escapes the print area, making the printing process cleaner and more comfortable. (PLA plastic does not have as harsh a smell.)
If the printing process is interrupted in any way, the H800 can easily pick up where it left off. Users can also change filament partway through a print, to create objects in multiple colors.
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Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can email Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and onGoogle+.