Rik Starmans worked as research scientist at TNO . Here a transpant polygon scanner with a plurality of laser bundles was developed. Two machines were built; a 3D printer, the Lepus Next Gen and a professional PCB machine, the Argos. TNO tried to commercialize the technology for PCB fabrication in LDI systems but was unsuccesful. Rik developed a new system where a single laserdiode is used per transparent prism, circumventing TNO's patent. The bill of materials for this system is in the order of 300 dollars. The technology is described here . A proof of concept model was built and Rik tried to sell this model via Kickstarter . The campaign was unsuccesful. The technology had to be improved. Salvatore Puglisi developed a Hexastorm cape for the beaglebone called the Firestarter. Two aspherical lenses were added to reduce the cross-scan error and the mirror was removed. The code for the new Firestarter cape is inspired from Ldgraphy . The laser speed is 2.6 MHz. An old technical presentation can be found on Youtube . The laser scanner works and can expose patterns. At the moment, the technology to cut boards with a spindle is added to the machine. A blog on the progress of the project is kept at Hackaday .
Business Case & Technology:
Laser scanning, the process of deflecting a laser beam in a controlled manner, plays an important role in 3D printing, laser engraving and many other modern technologies. Hexastorm uses a transparent instead of a reflective polygon to move a laser beam. This removes the need for an expensive f-theta lens. As a result, the laser scanner can be much smaller and has a lower cost. Hexastorm's new laser scanning technology has four big advantages:
As beachhead market, the printed circuit board market has been selected. We expect a global demand of 31000 machines and our price will be around 4000 euro's per unit. A market analysis of PCB prototype equipment has been made by the Edison Group . Hexastorm's elevator pitch is available here .
Hexa refers to hexagon. A hexagon is shown in the center of the logo. Storm makes a reference to the rotating prism in a transparent polygon scanner. The name was inspired by the spinning hexagonal cloud pattern on the north pole of Saturn, a Hexastorm. In the current, Hexastorm a quadron and not a hexagon is used.