I figured that I would write a little end of the year report on the current consumer 3d printer options. The printers are just in the order I pull them up to write about them. I’m just going to babble out random thoughts. Keep in mind that I have actual experience with only one of them. If there is a printer you’d like me to comment on let me know and I’ll add it.
RoBo 3D $525 kit shipped or $570 assembled shipped
This just showed up the other day on Kickstarter. No videos of it running and only a couple of pictures of the output. I get the impression that they just barely got it up. I don’t quite understand why it’s doing so well. Actually I do. It doesn’t look like an erector set. It has a large build volume and the price is lowish. I’m a bit worried about their pricing point. The mold for those big plastic parts are going to be 10’s of thousands and eat a large portion of their funds.
Pandabot $800 shipped
This is a Kickstarter that was canceled. It looks nice and has a large build volume. Not a lot of prints shown and a poor video of it in action. I think it was smart for them to cancel and go back to the drawing board. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Printrbot jr $375 shipped
It looks like this one is not going to meet its high funding goal, but that’s ok. I think Brooke is one of the very few guys that has a legit business at the moment. He deserves to succeed and I wish him luck.
PrusAL $1200 + shipping
This has been put up for funding a couple of times. The custom aluminum machining on this thing is just amazing. Not a lot of print close ups and no videos. I think there is room for a premium “Apple” type product. The price is just too high for most people to take a risk without seeing lots of best of class prints and videos of it in action
Ultimaker $2250 + shipping
I would love to own one of these, but it’s way out of my price range. When it first came out it seemed like the machine was limited by its bowden setup. However in the last 6 months it seems like they’ve worked out all the kinks and it can print anything everybody else can, but faster and with high accuracy. If I were buying up 3d printing companies this is the one I would buy up first.
Replicator2 $2200 + shipping
This machine looks really nice. Definitely near the top for printing quality now.
If I were to build a reprap this would be the one.
I have no interest is resin printers. I do no think they are friendly enough at the moment for the home.
Ultra-bot $899 assembled
A kickstarter printer. This one is interesting because he completely swapped his design out to a polar robot (as an option) just before they were intended to ship. There was some patent nonsense associate with it, but I think the guy behind it is a decent guy. I look forward to seeing how the polar machine works out for his backers.
I think this guy makes mechanical machines for a living and it gives him a huge advantage for manufacturing. However I got the impression that he did not have much 3d printing experience at the time of the campaign. He seems pretty smart though and I’m sure he’ll gain enough experience by the time he ships. He also does tons of updates which is great.
Vision $725 shipped
This machine is a modified Prusa with thick side panels. His Kickstarter campaign made it obvious that he has a lot of printing experience and I’m sure the machine is quite competent.
Printrbot LC $550 shipped
Same comments from above.
Printxel $335 shipped with assembled electronics
Well… That guy! He obviously isn’t making any money off his machine. Though the machine is capable of quite nice prints considering its very low price point. He kinda of dug himself into a hole with limiting his campaign to 25 printers. It was enough to get volume pricing for motors and drivers, but not enough to outsource anything else.
Makibox $350 shipped
It’s been a long road, but it is finally printing. Quality is kinda ok at the moment, but it is going up each week. I think if he can keep this price point they’ll do well.
Eventorbot $530 shipped
I thought this guy’s Kickstarter should of pulled in much bigger numbers. I think he needed more print pics and action videos. The machine just looks nice and clean I’ve been super impressed with his outsourcing skills. I’m not sure he’s going to make any money, but he really is doing a great job on his campaign so far.
Solidoodle2 $540 shipped
Looks like a great buy. I ran the numbers and I doubt they’re making any money. 60+ employees is expensive and especially so in New York. They are really churning out the printers now though. I believe they are at 2000+ shipped. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when they are all caught up with their preorders. I think their new Solidoodle3 with its $300 extra in margin will help a lot.
Very nice printer.
Cube $1300 + shipping
The print quality was terrible when it showed at CES, but it seems like they have worked out most of the issues. I really don’t appreciate that they just cloned the Up! 3DS is a billion dollar company. Come on.
Up! Mini $900 + shipping
Looks like there are some issues with the first printers out the door, but I’m sure they’ll work it out. I was very tempted to buy one of these just to have as a benchmark.
Bukobot $600 shipped
Seems like a quite nice printer and the guys running it definitely are hardcore printer folks.