What do I know about 3D Printing? Do you have a comprehensive list of what’s out there and cheap?
Well, I’m no expert, but I can definitely share some of the research and news I’ve got!
First and foremost, I follow this directory right here: http://www.3dprinter.net/directory/personal-3d-printers That’s the one that is kept pretty up to date on who’s still making what, and at what price range, and who’s the best, who’s emerging, etc. Sometimes there’s a couple month lag, but it’s a good place to go for the latest info.I’m sure you’re probably all “Dude, Makerbot‘s just so easy and cheap, why not start there?” Because them and all their Thingiverse cronies are, well, I’m not going to say super villain, but, it’s like Lex Luthor was suddenly Superman, you know? There’s also the RepRap which is OpenSource (yay! OpenSource!), but I’m not really familiar with robotics/engineering, and would really hate to mess it up. Once I experiment a bit, I might be willing to go that route, but, meanwhile, I’m going to be a lazy designer and go for pre-fabs. The one I originally invested in was Makibox’sMakible A6. A powerful little guy shipping for $350 from Hong Kong by a guy who wants to revolutionize the 3D printing world. The major downside right now is that he’s still making “tweaks” and has long since missed his August launch date – which is the only reason I don’t have one of these guys in my hands waving around like a madwoman. The tweaks look awesome, don’t get me wrong – pellet feed, small compact design, printing space of 6 inches cubed – but, it’s a lot to invest in to get nothing in return for an unspecified amount of time. Me = small business owner -> needs quick turnaround to have gadgets to pay for themselves. (*sad face*) Printxel was the other one going for $250. It was my runner up until he sold out of all kits and hasn’t announced plans to further production. I watch it like a hawk. A very lazy hawk. He also is in the Thingiverse forums here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:29558 The runner up, and my current purchase project, is the Solidoodle. Running for $499, you’ll need another $100 to upgrade to the heated bed, and there’s an additional $100 to that if you want a outer cover.
Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can always design something and ship it off to Sculpteo. They were pretty expensive when I was digging around, but I haven’t heard anything outwardly negative about them.
I’m also currently watching FormLabs, who just succeeded their Kickstarter on Oct 26. I’m suspecting it to be among the more expensive ranges, but I may go that route later on in life. It uses a laser, which is always more awesome, to solidify heated resin into a cleaner representation of your 3D object. Before I spend that kind of cash, I want to get a laser engraver… But I would not be opposed to a dual-purpose product that laser cuts and prints should they decide to go that route in the future! Mmm… Laser…
So, anyway, what have you found out? Which direction do you think you’re going to go printer-wise?