Orbit1 is a tabletop electroplating solution aimed at small businesses, makers and hobbyists, allowing them to coat any small object in a choice of four metallic finishes. The device, which is currently the subject of a crowdfunding effort, is relatively low cost, efficient to run, and pairs with a smartphone app to provide an accessible metal-coating experience.
While the price of 3D printers has come down significantly over the last few years, the same cannot be said for metal printing. Orbit1 aims to provide hobbyists and small businesses with an affordable way of finishing objects measuring up to 200 x 150 mm (7.8 x 5.9 in) with a coating of copper, nickel, palladium or gold. Furthermore, it's also efficient, coating objects in metal for just US$2/g.
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Coating objects with the Orbit1 is a three-step process. First, users need to thoroughly clean the object they wish to coat, before evenly spraying it with proprietary conductive paint. Once placed inside Orbit1, the machine laser-scans the object and configures itself automatically, before the user launches the process using the iOS or Android companion app.
The metal layer is added gradually to the object until the pre-defined level of thickness is achieved. There are LED lights inside the machine allowing users to watch the electroplating take place, with the entire process taking a maximum of two hours.
The app that goes along with the device is designed to be easy to use, offering a Smart Mode with recommended settings for each of the different available finishes. For more advanced users, there's an Expert Mode that allows the parameters of a coating to be manually adjusted. During the electroplating process, the app acts as a status monitor, providing information to keep track of the process.
Monolith Studio, the company behind the project, believes that there are a wealth of potential uses for Orbit1. It allows companies and creators to quickly prototype their products and ideas, making it appealing to a wide range of potential customers.
For the product to become a reality, it will first have to hit its US$200,000 Kickstarter goal by the time the effort concludes on June 19. The early bird pledge price for the electroplater sits at $1,999.
If the crowdfunding campaign is successful, the company will use the funds to further optimize the Orbit1 before going into mass production. It plans to start shipping units in August 2016.
For more on the Orbit1, you can take a look at the video below.