3D printing or rapid prototyping has always been an expensive endeavor, it was only 7 years ago when my friend purchased an Objet 3D printer for 240,000 dollars. The price of a quarter of million dollars was enough to turn most companies off from ever dreaming of owning one. But for the lucky few who could afford one had the freedom of creating products from a simple sketch to an actual product in a matter of minutes.
Working for a young jewelry company at that time, a 3D printer would have saved us days of waiting for samples to be finished. As hard as I wanted to convince my boss a rapid prototyping machine would have never worked for us. There a flaw that stopped us from ever owning one which the texture of the printed objects, they often had rough textures in certain areas completely making 3D printed objects unusable as a master prototype.
But recently in the past few years 3D printers started becoming really good to the point that even solved the texture problem. In fact along with the increase in accuracy price also went to levels making it almost affordable for home use. New companies and hobbyist have push the boundaries of 3D printing making them cheaper and even simple enough for anyone to use.
Bellow are 3 of my favorite 3D printers that could one day be in your home:
The RapMan 3D Printer
The Rapman 3D Printer was an instant hit the moment it came out of the market. Its simple design and proven reliability makes it a great tool for students or small graphic design companies. The Rapman itself is portable and weights bellow 40 pounds. I only had a few minutes to try out the Rapman but that was enough for me to say that works like a charm. We printed out a solid chess piece and it took around 15 minutes to complete the print.
PrintrBot came out with the cheapest workable 3D printer that cost around $399 making it the most affordable 3D printer in the world. Although the Printrbot is meant for kids or for any one wanting to learn about 3D printing. According to the creator there are still some issues they need fix to improve the performance of the Printrbot Jr. The printer is available as a Kickstarter project and you can order one for the low price promised by the developers.
TurboCAD Touch 3D Printer
The TurboCAD is a full 3D printing kit that comes with TurboCAD. Good software it an integral part of 3D printing. TurboCAD 19 which is packaged with their Touch 3D printer makes it one of the few 3D printers that is complete out of the box. TurboCAD 19 itself is a mature software familiar to most industrial designers.
The three 3D printers I listed above are just a few of the products pioneered by young companies pushing the boundaries of exciting world of 3D printing. A lot of people tend to look at these companies as like Apple or Amiga pushing technology and making it available to world.
About the Writer:
This article was written by Jessie Johns a member of ByHand.Me. Jessie has been creating wooden crafts for over a decade and is a contributes to Santa Monica Woodmakers Annual for over a decade. Jessie is know experimenting with Resin and the use of 3D printing to create home made works of art made out of PLA Plastics which is a safe and biodegradable.