You wait years for an affordable 3D printer, then two come along at once.
Both 3D printing pioneer 3D Systems and newer rival MakerBot Industries launched new sub-$2,000 printers at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show.
MakerBot’s new Replicator is a bigger brother to its existing $1,099 Thing-O-Matic, retailing at $1,749 for the standard model, and $1,999 for the two-colour ‘Dualstrusion’ edition.
The look of the printers matches MakerBot’s freewheeling approach to product naming, both resembling something a hipster scientist might have assembled out of basement trash.
Users can share designs for free on the company’s Thingiverse community site.
In contrast, 3D Systems’ more straight-laced Cube is its first foray into this end of the market, having only released its first sub-$10,000 printer in 2009. It has the price right now, though: the Cube sells for just $1,299.
The company has also launched Cubify, an online community through which people can buy and sell 3D prints.
The BBC has a good interview with the two companies’ CEOs, which captures the difference in cultures – anti-consumerist and slightly ramshackle on the part of Makerbot, efficient and corporate for 3D Systems.