A 3D printer for $799 is amazing. A far cry from the first 3D-Systems Inc's earliest SLAs of the late 1980's priced in the Quarter-Million-Dollar neighborhood. But I think I will continue to utilize the growing market of rapid-prototype-providers, who are also fiercely competing with each other to provide the lowest cost and fastest-turn models. I can still get excellent quality, and lots of options; from SLA to Z-Corp and SLS parts all with extremely fast turn-arounds, and all serviced via Internet. Its worth the price of the prototypes when I don't need to maintain 4 different types of systems.
I've been thinking of 3D printers as being similar to 2D pen plotters. I see some sort of page-printer equivalent in our future, on our way to molecular deposition. Long before we get to 2200 (well, our great-grandchildren), we'll have Star Trek's replicators in our kitchens.
One thing I missed in this article was the speed of this 3D printer. What thickness can it lay down per unit time?
It seems these 3D printers are becoming more and more of a low cost commodity product. This reminds me of dot matrix and inkjet printers years ago. As prices kept going down and volumes kept going up, I expect these 3D printers to be produced more and more in low cost regions like Asia (similar to what happened to 2D printers).
Although I am a 3D printer fan, I take issue with advertising the 'resolution' at 2300DPI. While this is indeed the theoretical positioning resolution of .011mm in X and Y, with a printer head at .35mm the smallest 'dot' is about .013" or about 72 DPI or less. If I have two .35mm dots spaced .011 apart, they are essentially one 'dot'.
Good point JimT. I gues the smart money is to let those who want to be in the print-on-demand business work through all the start-up hurdles. If you ever get to the point where you can keep a 3D printer busy on a regular basis, then you can spring for one. In the meantime, you still get fast turnaround on prototypes. At $799, it's not quite an impulse buy, yet.
Yes ,,, but it IS getting tempting at this low price point.
While I'm miserably pragmatic about optimizing dollars (exactly my point, I just can't justify an $800 printer to be considered profitable,,,) It IS fantastic to imagine that a 3D printer is so close to my reach.
I wasn't quite this intrigued when I bought my first computer printer, if you get my drift.
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