Orlando, FL -- Rapid prototyping system vendors are out in
full force at this year's SolidWorks User Conference, each stressing the
advantages of their tools over their competition's â from the fastest processing times to the
biggest footprint to multi-material models.
Most striking, though, was the almost universal emphasis on
lower price points, making these tools surprisingly more affordable for design
teams looking to produce models from their CAD data for visualization,
communication and in some cases functional testing. And, really, who doesn't
need a system of their own to do all that?
Everybody, apparently, if the marketing folks have anything
to say about it.
At $14,900, the uPrint by Dimension (www.uAPrintDimension.com) is an
economical choice that's marketed as a personal 3D printer that really will fit
on a desktop (the footprint is 24 X 26 inch). Despite its relatively tiny size,
the printer creates form-fit-and-function parts in plastic.
Bruce Bradshaw, director of marketing at Objet (www.objet.com) pointed Design News to the Alaris30, an
entry-level system the company introduced in October. Priced at $40K, the unit
is nearly 50 percent less than the previous starter model. Bradshaw says there's some
economies of scale associated with selling higher volumes of systems, but also
a few trade-offs in features. For example, the unit produces single material
parts, while the much higher priced Conix can print dual materials at bigger
Finally, $48K Perfactory SXGA Standard Zoom printer by
envisiontec GmbH (www.envisiontec.com)
exploits direct light
projection technology to create high resolution models. The heftier price tag
buys users a greater choice in materials and faster processing speeds.