3D Printers for Home Use
An overview of the 3D printers that are available for home use. There are quite a few 3D printers on the market in 2012.
Are you thinking about getting a 3D printer for home use? We've got one. Well more accurately, we've got a kit to build one! My partner thinks this is a fun project, which it is, if he's doing it!
Personally, I would have chosen a prebuilt 3D printer because I'm impatient and rather slap dash. Whether you want a ready made 3D printer or think that assembling one yourself is fun, you have some options.
One this page I'll provide an overview of some of the 3D printers to use at home that are available in 2012. We'll look at 3D printers included for consumers who want a simple out of box experience and 3D printers for educators and geeks who want to get hands on.
The Cube 3D Printer
The Cube is a new 3D printer coming to the market in 2012. At time of writing it is close to taking preorders.
The Cube is interesting because it's designed to be a consumer device. Most of the 3D printers so far have been for very early adopter types.
The Cube has a simple design and comes in blue, black and white. It has a simple design and is intended to look at home as a household device.
The Cube uses ABS plastic (what Lego is made from) in ten different colors and uses an EZ load print cartridge system.
See: Cubify Cube
Cube 3D Printing iPod Nano Wristbands
Makerbot 3D Printers
Makerbot Industries are making quite a name for themselves in the 3D printing world.
First there was the Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer kit, beloved of many 3D printing early adopters and tech enthusiasts. You can sometimes find an assembled Thing-o-matic on eBay (see right.)
Now there's the Makerbot Replicator (preorders started Jan 2012.) The Replicator is a desktop 3D printer. If you choose the Dual Extruder option then you can 3D print in two colors. This is significant as it gives you lots of new options to create two-colored objects. (Single color printing has been a limitation for early 3D printers.)
The replicator can print 3D objects up to about the size of a loaf of bread. Obviously you'd normally be printing an object that was not solid plastic at that size.
See: Makerbot Replicator
Makerbot Replicator in Action
RepRap 3D Printer
The RepRap 3D printer became famous as an early 3D printer which can print about half of its own parts!
The RepRap comes from the University of Bath and it's design is open source. It's a good choice for educators and people who want to get really hands on with the technology behind 3D printing.
The RepRap is a 3D printer with its insides on the outside.
The RepRap is also less expensive that the consumer 3D printing devices.
You can often buy an assembed RepRap or RepRap parts on eBay (see right.)
SumPod Printer Kit
The SumPOD is a UK-based 3D printer kit for home assembly. It's less expensive than the prebuilt 3D printers, but there's a fair bit of work involved in putting it together - including preparing and painting the woodwork and assembling the mechanical and electronic components.
We have a SumPOD. Well more accurately we half a pile of bits on the floor of our study that look like they might one day become a SumPOD!
See Also: 3D Printer Filament
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