Ethereal Machines’ Halo takes 3D printing to a new dimension, literally

Three-dimensional printing is a revolutionary technology, and it hasn’t even come close to what will eventually be possible yet. During our coverage of CES 2018 we’ve seen a giant 3D printer meant for printing yacht parts, but what may be even more impressive is the world’s first 5D printer, the Halo from Ethereal Machines. We caught up with Ethereal Machines’ Kaushik Mudda on the show floor to see just what makes the Halo so unique.

“Regular 3D printers operate on just three axes: X, Y, and Z,” Mudda told Digital Trends. “What we’ve done is we’ve added two additional axes to it: A translational axis and a rotatory axis as well.” Those two axes are why Ethereal Machines refers to its process as five-axis or 5D printing.

This method allows for printing of complex shapes and structures without the extra hassles that most 3D printers impose. In printing a shape with parts that extend off of the main body, a standard 3D printer would need support structures in order to print the design. Thanks to the ability to rotate and precisely position the object during printing, the Halo doesn’t need these structures, and can instead print into thin air.

“Imagine making structures without any support materials, and the kind of finish you get with this five-axis 3D printing,” Mudda says. “That’s something that the world has never seen. This is the first [machine] of its kind in the world.”

On the way to this unique new method, Ethereal Machines also spent time creating standard 3D printers. Once it had the five-axis idea, it took the company a year and a half to take it from concept to reality. The machine can reach temperatures up to 350 degrees Celsius and supports most 3D printing filaments including nylon. The Halo can also handle subtractive manufacturing, making it useful for both hobbyists and businesses creating parts and prototypes.

We haven’t yet have the chance to test out the Ethereal Machines Halo, but once we do, there is a chance that it could end up on our list of the best 3D printers available. The Halo won a CES Innovation Award, and officially launched last month. For more information, see the Ethereal Machines website.