The shape of things to come: A consumer’s guide to 3D printers
“CES 2013 proved to be something of a coming out party for consumer-facing 3D printers. Sure MakerBot earned a fair amount of attention at last year’s show with the announcement of the Replicator, which snagged its share of awards from various press outlets. This year, however, saw a relative deluge in 3D-printing representation, with strong showings from 3D Systems, FormLabs, MakerBot and the cloud-based 3D printer, Sculpteo. Even with so many companies rising to prominence, the dream of truly mainstream 3D printing still feels a ways off — if that is indeed where we’re inevitably heading. . . .
Most of these work by melting plastic (largely Lego-like ABS or biodegradable PLA) and squirting it out through extruder heads. The heads operate along the X and Y axes, while the build platform (generally heated in the case of ABS and unheated for PLA) moves downward, allowing the glue gun-like extruders to build up the thin layers of plastic. Some printers rely on other technologies, many of which are rooted in the world of rapid prototyping, a category of fabrication that has been around for decades and used by companies like Boeing and Ford to created scale models of concepts.
There are a surprising number of companies and organizations currently invested in the space, be it through pre-fabricated models, kits or open-source, downloadable plans. We pulled together a list of some of the most prominent, which you can check out after the break.”
The Machine: CubeX The Price: $2,499 to $3,999 The Features: Up to three colors, up to 10.8 x 10.45 x 9.5-inch build volume, up to 125-micron resolution, touchscreen interface
Bits from Bytes
The Machine: 3DTouch The Price: $3,490 to $4,370 The Features: Up to three extruders, 10.8 x 10.8 x 8-inch build volume (for single extruder model), up to 125-micron resolution.
The Machine: Eventorbot The Price: Assembled unit price TBD, $885 pledge on Kickstarter (now closed) The Features: Low cost, streamlined at-home assembly, 10 x 8 x 6-inch build volume.
The Machine: DeltaMaker The Price: Assembled unit price TBD, $499 to $1,099 pledge on Kickstarter The Features: Delta robot platform, 9-inch diameter x 11-inch build volume, 100 micron resolution
The Machine: Delta Micro Up! Plus / Afinia H-Series The Price: $1,500 The Features: Prints in ABS / PLA, 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.3-inch build volume, 150-micron resolution
The Machine: [email protected] Model 2 The Price: N/A The Features: Streamlined building process compared to Model 1, printing in any number of materials: including frosting, clay and rubber caulk
The Machine: Filabot The Price: TBD, $490 pledge on Kickstarter (now closed) The Features: Not a 3D printer per se, rather a device that recycles plastic into filaments for prints
The Machine: Form 1 The Price: $3,300 The Features: Utilizes stereolithography printing for more precise prints, 4.9 x 4.9 x 6.5-inch build volume
The Machine: Creatr The Price: $1,683 (single extruder), $2020 (dual-extruder) The Features: ABS, PLA and PVA printing, aluminum body, 9 x 10.6 x 8.7-inch build volume, 200 micron printing
The Machine: AO-101 The Price: $1,725 The Features: Rugged build quality, 7.9 x 7.5 x 3.9-inch build volume, 200-micron resolution
The Machine: Replicator 2x The Price: $2,800 The Features: Easy-to-load extruder, two extruders, 9.7 x 6 x 6.1-inch build volume, 100-micron resolution
The Machine: M2 The Price: $1,750 (assembled) The Features: 8 x 10 x 8-inch build area
The Machine: Metamáquina 2 The Price: $1,614 The Features: 7.9 x 7.9 x 6-inch build volume, 200-micron resolution
The Machine: Printrbot GO The Price: $1,500 (unassembled kit) The Features: Portability (folds up into a briefcase), battery-powered, 7.9 x 7.2 x 5.9-inch build volume
The Machine: Pwdr The Price: $1,330 (estimated assembly price) The Features: Powder-based printing, refillable cartridges
The Machine: RepRapPro Huxley The Price: $599 (unassembled kit) The Features: The open-source original, 5.5 x 5.5 x 4.3-inch build volume, more portable than other RepRap devices
The Machine: RoBo 3D The Price: “Around” $520 The Features: Low cost, PLA / ABS plastic, 10 x 10 x 8-inch build volume, 100-micron resolution
The Machine: M.O.B. The Price: $960 The Features: Metal body, 8 x 6.3 x 6.2-inch build volume
The Machine: Rostock MAX The Price: $1,000 starting (non-assembled kit) The Features: 11-inch (diameter) x 13.8-inch (height) build volume, 50-micron resolution
The Machine: Solidoodle 3 The Price: $800 The Features: Low cost, rugged metal case, 8 x 8 x 8-inch build volume, 100-micron resolution
The Machine: Mega The Price: $2,539 The Features: Metal case, massive 23.6 x 23.6 x 23.6-inch build volume
This printer’s namesake, UK-based Richard Sum, took to Indiegogo when it came time to fund his labor of love — multiple times, in fact. The printer now comes in three flavors, the original Basic [pictured], Aluminum and Mega (the Aluminum version with an increased build volume), ranging in price from £300 ($476) to £1,600 ($2,539) to start.
The Future is 3-D
The Machine: Glacier Steel The Price: $2,650 / $3,650 The Features: Steel frame, up to 16 x 16 x 21-inch build platform ($3,650 model), optional dual extrusion ($450 extra)
Type A Machines
The Machine: Series 1 The Price: $1,400 The Features: 9 x 9 x 9-inch build volume, standard resolution as low as 100 microns.
The Machine: Ultimaker The Price: $2,269 The Features PLA / ABS plastic, 8.3 x 8.3 x 8.1-inch build volume
Details and descriptions past the link.