Still in an early prototype stage - sorry about the photo, folks - but included here for its innovation and coolness, the File2Part Gutenberg is the first full-colour hobbyist printer. Designed by a team of industry veterans, it is a Fused Deposition Modelling device but after outputting each layer of plastic it does a second pass with a conventional inkjet printer head to colour the plastic. While the Gutenberg will use standard ABS and PLA the company has formulated its own plastic. Future plans include using chemicals in the inkjet to treat the plastic and produce variable flexibility within a single model. The machine can build things as big as 13.6 x 13.6 x13.6cm. File2Part's inventors are selling software to fund development of the technology.
More info File2Part
This is a hotly anticipated stereolithography printer for first-time hobbyists. It fires a laser into a tank of noxious Acrylate Photopolymer liquid resin, causing the material to harden as an outline is drawn and the platform is raised. The accuracy and finish are much better than the output of extruder-based printers because, while the size of the laser dictates that the smallest possible part is 300 microns in size, the edge of the laser can be controlled within that allowing for very accurate detailing down to 25 microns. Formlabs promise exceptionally slick software, and on the back of some huge Kickstarter success – where it looked for $100k and raised nearly $3m – it has tripled the size of the software team. Resin will initially be available in grey. The build volume is 12.5 x 12.5 x 16.5cm. Initial shipments to Kickstarter backers are scheduled for February – litigation from rival 3D systems notwithstanding – and are otherwise sold out until May.
More info Formlabs
Next page: Makerbot Replicator 2
I have no need for a 3D printer but for some strange reason I want one.
I guess it's a sign of how far we've come that you can fill a "10 3D printers" article with credible suggestions, and still leave out some of the biggest names.
@Lee Rowling Re: Cost
"Though there are a couple of models in the "affordable" range there, they seem to be the cheap junk that has poor quality output."
How are you judging the output ?... from the minimum feature size ? Have you seen the output from all these ? Enquiring minds want to know..
"They literally look like someone's attempt to make their own inkjet printer and though I don't doubt they work and are "good enough" for a lot of things, that's all I think of when I look at them. What are we talking about? Three stepper motors, a control board, some supporting struts, belts, chains, gears, and a heated nozzle with a box of raw plastic on top. Just what is in there to cost several thousand pounds?"
The cheap and nasty looking ones don't cost several thousand pounds.
"Honestly, I expect to pay £50-100 for a "homebrew" one of these (i.e. the price range of a half-decent commercial inkjet, or some large homebrew lego project), and £300-500 for a full commercial-quality one."
May I be the first, on behalf of the rest of the world, to apologize for things not yet being what you expect. The nerve of those manufacturers.....
"Until then, I don't see what market they serve."
Evidently not... though i'm left to wonder to whom this reflects more on.
Re: Lack of faith
So after about 10 or 20 iterations of this we will be down to the nanobot level? All hail our nanobot overlords!
Wot no Ultimaker?
Pity that the best hobbiest 3d printer isn't listed.... The Ultimaker (www.ultimaker.com). I print on mine at 0.08mm layer height and have gone down as low as 0.04.... I've compared directly with prints from most of the printers on this list and the Ultimaker blows them all away. As a plywood contraption it doesn't look as good as some of these,but it excels where it counts.
Also, I just have to toss in my 2p on the Replicator.... Makerbot are going the way of Apple... they had a great hacker community but now they've evolved into a corporate environment and have close-sourced everything and are moving towards a closed non hacker-friendly eco-system. They've taken work done by the community and have built proprietary work on it without giving anything back.