3D Printer Price
3D Printer Price Points: The 3D Printing Industry wants inside your home; will you invite it in?
Each new feature on this page will compare & contrast two cool & competing 3D printers at or around the same price point. We look beyond price and specs, & consider also support, aesthetics and practicality.
If you have any thoughts on the comparisons made here, or would like to suggest a feature, I’d love to hear from you.
The price range for personal 3D Printers is broad, from $200.00 for a DIY kit from Makible, a company in Hong Kong, to over $5000.00 for the B9Creator 3D Printer from Kuhling & Kuhling in Germany.
The first thing to keep in mind when you start looking for a 3D printer is that the 3D printing industry has just started to cater to individual users — that is, people just like you. The upshot is that there are no dominant products out there yet, just a growing number of players all jockeying for your support as they struggle to build their brand.
You, as an innovator and early adopter in this brave new 3 dimensional world, are shaping the industry with your decisions. And the array of products from which you will choose is starting to be downright staggering.
Let’s talk about you: A kit person or plug & play?
What do you need your 3D printer to do?
Do you want to get mechanical? Then look for 3D kits.
Assembling the 3D printer is half the fun for a certain type of 3D printer user. There is a whole subculture — growing every day — of 3d printer hobbyists who spend as much time talking about their printer, building and tuning it and jazzing it up as they do printing objects. There are great open forums on the web and support forums on company sites for novices, experts and everyone in between. If (Check out the links at the end of this article.)
Are you an artist?
If nuts and bolts are not your thing, and you just want to replicate and/or design cool objects and show them off, forget the 3D printer kits and go the assembled rout. Most desktop 3D printers come either way, with the assembled one costing more.
Are you an inventor/designer?
If so, you can use your 3D printer like the big boys do — to print out prototypes of your inspired objects. Thinking through this option leads to a glimpse of the field that makes folks talk about a new manufacturing revolution.
It’s not too outlandish to see a future in which manufacturing turns personal, and the need for huge capital for foundries and factories and manufacturing runs in the thousands begins to vanish, and custom manufacturing and the creation of one-off items by individual designers reshapes our consumer habits.
Or maybe your simply blown away by the technology that let’s you print objects, & you want to experience the fusion of mechanical engineering, super hi-tech software, & laser technology that 3d printing represents.
This week’s in depth 2fer
The Hunk & the Hottie: 2 great looking, assembled, feature-rich desktop 3D printers:
Replicator 2x & Cube X Duo
(Awesome links at end of article!)
Meet the Cube X duo (the hottie) and the Replicator 2X (the hunk). They are both assembled.
The hunk comes from Makerbots. It’s a funky Brooklyn start-up that’s not going anywhere — as they were just purchased — for $400 million — by the industry giant Stratasys.
The Replicator 2X is the super Replicator 2 if you will; billed as experimental and future proof. It’s an awesome machine that is for anyone who is really serious about 3d printing an is reay to invest in a printer that will give consistent prints for a long time. What it has that it’s non X version oes not is:
- A super flat heated build plate optimize for ABS
The build plate is the surface that the print sits on, an this heavy-uyt version ensures flatness for prints that can take 10 20 hours or more to complete, preventing warping or sagging that can hurt print quality.
- A new & improve easy-load extruder (nozzle)
Avances here dummy-proof loading the filament (that melts to make the “ink” that layers onto the plate to print the object).
- An added nozzle
Two extruders mean you can print objects in two different colors, interlacing them with precision, as in the pic below
- Powerful homegrown software
Speedier that before with super easy interface, drag & drop point click check models on the virtual platform, compatible with Windows & Mac.
Finally, there is the awesome Makerbot support. It’s rival the Cube X duo is the only brand to come close, as well see in a minute). Team support, forums, & the thingiverse blog will make it feel like you are never alone. (Check out links @the end.)
Weight: 28 pounds
Print tech: Fused Filament
Build volume: 9.8 L x 6.3 W x 5.9 H
Layer solution: 100, 200 or 300 Microns
The Cube X duo — from 3D printing’s other royal family, 3D Systems — has a sexy silver sheen and has no glass or plastic covers since new technology means no heating of the build plate. I’m focusing on the duo because its price point matches the Replicator 2X, but in fact you can get the Cube X with one, two or three Extruders.
The duo, naturally, has two nozzles, which means it can print objects in two colors. Its most notable new features are
- Paint printing tool
Virtual paint brush lets you paint exactly what you want on your object. You can also slice your objects into sections an color by clicking. 30 print colors. See sample pic below:
- Prints in ABS or PLA
ABS & PLA are the two standard additives for personal 3 printers. ABS is industry grade plastic an extremely durable; PLA is not quite as rugged but allows precision without having to have a heated build plate.
- Self-cleaning nozzel
The nozzle is scraped an the excess additive dropped in a tray
- Huge print size
Cube X turns a basic spec into a main feature as its build size is the largest in its class: 10.8 L x 10.45 W x 9.5 H
- Smart on/off switch
Allows for pausing and restarting in the mile of prints. Also includes a brown out switch so if the power goes out, it won’t ruin your print.
The support for the Cube X is awesome: Racks of tutorials, an a cool site just for “Cubers”.
Weight: Not clear
Print tech: Fused Filament
Build volume: 10.8 L x 10.45 W x 9.5 H
Layer solution: 100, 250 or 500 Microns