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3D printer prices drop, food printers arrive at CES

Lucas Mearian | Jan. 10, 2014
The number of 3D printer vendors rose from five last year to more than 20 this year, and prices for their machines have come down dramatically.

LAS VEGAS — At last year's CES show, five 3D printer companies — 3D Systems, Stratasys, FormLabs, MakerBot, and Afinia — showed their wares. This year, that number has grown to more than 20.

With competition and increased production, prices have begun to drop markedly. Here's a look at some of these companies and their products.

Industry newcomer XYZprinting launched its da Vinci, a personal 3D printer priced at $499. The printer will be available in U.S., Europe, and Japan in March. XYZprintinG is owned and backed by New Kinpo Group, one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world.

As with most of the new consumer machines, the da Vinci requires no setup. It is an enclosed printer that uses fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology (akin to melting and extruding weed-whacker string on a flat metal plate) to print objects at up to 7.8-in x 7.8-in x7.8-in. in size.

XYZprinting's new da Vinci 3D printer is read to use out of the box and costs $499.

XYZ has also come out with a 2.0 version of their 3D printer that has a larger print bed and a 2.1 version that includs Wi-Fi connectivity and a 5-in. LCD touch screen for choosing images to print and downloading them.

The printer can use a household wireless router to connect to a cloud database with thousands of free 3D models that consumers can customize.

Filament cartridges are available in 12 colors.

3D Systems
3D Systems, the first consumer 3D printer company, announced six new models at CES that will ship starting in the second quarter.

The company's third-generation "Cube" printers were announced this week and include the Cube and Cube Pro, which will sell for under $1,000 and $5,000, respectively when they become available in the second quarter.

The new Cube can print in 22 colors using the most common filaments, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic.

Layers can be as thin as 75 microns or up to 200 microns and objects can be as large as 6 inches in size.

3D Systems' third-generation Cube printer.

The Cube Pro can also print using ABS or PLA filaments, but it can create objects up to 10.8 in. x 10.4-in x 9.5-in in size. The printer also has a "fast mode" that prints layers at a thickness of 350 micron but is 75% faster than the 200-micron mode.

The company also announced its CubeJet 3D printer, which will be priced under $5,000. The desktop 3D printer can print a full-range of colors in high-resolution for a wide range of modeling and actual products. The printer, designed specifically for small businesses, hobbyists and educators, uses 3D System's ColorJet Printing (CJP) technology. CJP is an additive manufacturing technology that uses a core, powdered material spread in thin layers over the build platform with a roller. After each layer is spread, color binder is selectively jetted from inkjet print heads over the core layer, which causes the core to solidify.


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