Connex3 Multi-material 3D Printer
The world's first commercial full-colour multi-material 3D printer
MakerBot's Replicator improves upon The Thing-o-Matic with the introduction of a second colour, larger print area and built-in control system.
MakerBot's Thing-o-Matic is an open source 3D printer from MakerBot Industries.
HP Designjet 3D
HP Designjet 3D Printer will arrive on your door step fully assembled and ready to print. A HP Designjet 3D Printer is likely to set you back around £11,000.
3D ZCorp ZPrinter
Z Corporation Z Printers are some of the world’s fastest high-definition printers 3D, capable of producing physical 3D models from digital data in full color.
Dimension 3D Printers
Dimension 3D printers are used by many leading companies like Black and Decker, Segway, John Deere, Sony, Duracell, General Motors and Electrolux.
3D Systems Projet 1000
Designed to bring high-resolution, durability, accessiblity and to educators, students and professionals, at an affordable price.
Reprap is a FOSS 3D printer, with full specifications released under the GNU General Public License.
Buildatron 1 3D
Buildatron Systems' Buildatron 1 3D is another affordable 3D printer suitable for home use.
From cost-effective desktop 3D printers ideal for home-based workers all the way to industrial-scale multi-material machines for large manufacturers.
Printrbot is one of the cheapest 3D printers currently on the market and is shipped as an easy to assemble kit.
Cube 3D Printer
3D@Home's Cube 3D Printer is a pre-assembled 3D printer aimed at home and hobby consumers and retails for around $1,299.
Imagine 3D Printer
A syringe based 3D Printer that comes fully assembled, and prints out a variety of materials, including food, chocolates, silicone, cheese, epoxy, organics, etc.
Origo Kids 3D Printer
The Origo is an affordable 3D printers aimed at kids.
iModela Childrens 3d Printer
The iModela iM-01 is an affordable 3D printers aimed at children.
UP! 3D Printer
The UP! personal 3D printer from China, is designed and marketed to be an affordable and portable 3D printer for home use.
The CubeX prints in 3 colors, with a volume of up to 10.8 x 10.45 x 9.5-inch, up to 125-micron resolution.
Features up to three extruders, 10.8 x 10.8 x 8-inch build volume (for single extruder model), up to 125-micron resolution.
A low cost, home assembly 3D printer with a 10 x 8 x 6-inch build volume.
The Form1 uses stereolithography printing for more detailed prints.
The Delta robot platform has a 9-inch diameter x 11-inch build volume and offers 100 micron resolution
BotObject Colour 3d Printer
The first full-color desktop 3D printer
At around $520 it should be one of the cheapest 3D printers around. 10 x 10 x 8-inch build volume, 100-micron resolution
The PWDR is a self-assembly open source powder-based 3D printer.
Specifications, prices and designs of 3D Printers vary with some small enough to sit on your desk, and others massive enough to print building components. The materials employed by 3D printers vary as well, with some using molten metal and others printing out liquid concrete. Many 3D printers can combine a variety of materials, enabling the construction of pre-assembled complex objects with moving parts and even integrating electronic components.
Aplications of 3D Printing
3D printers have obvious applications in architecture and product design, allowing designers to print complex prototypes at the push of a button, and 3D printers are already widely adopted in these industries. However 3D printing also has applications in a wide variety of other fields including industrial design, engineering and construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, civil engineering, fashion, jewelry and footwear, amongst others.
Here are some real-world examples demonstrating the applications of 3D printing:
If the handle on a householder's washing machine broke in the days before 3D printing, they would have to order a new part and wait for it to be delivered. Now, if they owned a 3D printer they could go online and download a 3D file, and print a replacement there and then. If they owned a 3D scanner they could scan the object, creating the 3D file themselves.
The same principal applies to just about any simple object, with consumers able to purchase the design online and print them at home. This could revolutionise manufacturing, reducing costs (as shipping, warehousing and shop storefronts are no longer required), and potentially reducing our carbon footprint.
Museums and art galleries can scan delicate objects in three dimensions and print accurate replicas, to study and display. Visitors to the gallery's website might be able to print out the object, despite being located in a different continent.
The vintage car enthusiast might scan and print rare or discontinued car parts that he or she may have otherwise been unable to obtain. See Jay Lenos 3D printer.
FDM Printers 3D
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers extrude partially molten ABS plastic in extremely fine layers one on top of the other, forming the entire 3D model in a single piece from the ground up. The HP Designjet 3D printer (pictured above right) is an example of an FDM 3D Printer. 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys developed the FDM technique in 1988 and have been at the forefront of 3D printing technology ever since and are currently making Dimension 3D printers.
SLS Printers 3D
Selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) printers are similar to FDM printers in that they build up successive layers of material (plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders) from the ground up, however they use a high power laser to fuse small particles of the material in a granular powder bed, into a mass that has the programmed three dimensional shape. When targetted with the laser the he fine powder is set into a hard, plaster-like finish.
How Does 3D Printing Work?
To understand how 3D printers work, in their most basic form, it is useful to compare them with conventional 2D printers similar to the ones most people will have connected to their desktop computer.
A conventional 2D inkjet printer contains a print-head that is capable of releasing a dot of ink on command. The print-head is moved across a sheet of paper left to right, and gradually front to back, occasionally releasing a dot of ink. Eventually it will have moved across the entire surface of the paper, and the release of the dots of ink will have been timed in such a way that together they combine to make a recognisable picture or text.
Instead of ink, the print-head in a 3D printer releases a blob of plastic (or other material) that stands proud of the paper or printable area. You would be able to feel each dot if you ran your hand across the printable area. The print-head moves across the printable area, in the same way as a conventional printer, but once it has moved across the entire surface, the print head is raised up by a tiny amount and the process begins again. By printing a blob of material on top of the previous blobs, the printer is able to build up three dimensional shapes, a bit like you would build a wall.
Please note, there are a number of different and competing 3D printing technologies, of which the above method is just one simplified example to illustrate the general principle. The main differences are found in the way layers are built to create parts. Some methods use melting or softening material to produce the layers, e.g. selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM), while others lay liquid materials that are cured with different technologies.
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Generally, the main considerations are speed, cost, cost of the 3D printer, choice and cost of materials and colour capabilities. Printers 3D.
What materials can you 3D print
- ABS Plastic - A strong & tough material with the highest level of dimensional accuracy.
- Polyamide - A strong and flexible material with a high level of detail.
- Alumide - Polyamide-like material with a distinctive look.
- Multicolor - A full color material.
- High detail resin - Able to produce fine details on this photopolymer.
- Paintable resin - Designed to hold paint
- Transparent resin - A see through material.
- Titanium - Light and the strongest 3D printing material in the world.
- Stainless steel - A strong and durable material
- Silver - Sterling Silver
- Gold - 18 carat solid gold.
- Prime gray - A very smooth material, detailed and “luxurious” to the touch.
- Concrete - Ideal for building material
- Glass - A powerful laser can fuse common sand to produce glass objects
- Electrical Conductors - A 3D printer that can print electrical conductors can make its own circuit boards and other electrical products
- Food - There are 3D printers that will print chocolate, cheese and all sorts of organics.