Already, there is a whole lot of talk about how 3D printers are being targeted directly at individual consumers. Marketing is being used to lure them by using words like inexpensive and affordable. But what is the actual 3D printer price when it comes to buying one?
Some years ago, it was difficult for individuals to shell out £1500 for a 3D printer or stretch to £3500 for a more sophisticated printer. But today these have become both reliable and affordable for private a well as commercial settings.
Some of the reasons behind the rising value of 3D printing companies are the convenience and ease of creating a product on a computer and then turning it into a physical object. With additive manufacturing there is no waste or scrap as compared to the traditional subtractive manufacturing process. This cost and speed make this technology economically feasible.
About 6 years ago the cheapest printer price out there was £20,000, and most of them were well above £60,000. But today, one can get a good one for around £1000. There were many good models at Consumer Electronics Show this year.
Such low 3D printer prices mean the market place could open to individuals or small businesses too. Soon people will be using these printers at home to make toys and curtain rings or whatever they fancy. This is what makes printing so interesting and exciting.
The best additive (3D) printers on the market use laser-based technology and are known as Stereolithography for microscopic precision. One can print crazy things like recreated dinosaur bodies or lab grown leather. But stereolithography makes those printers too expensive and sends these 3D printer prices spiralling upwards.
The secret behind keeping prices lower than £2000 is to make use of nanometer lasers, that are used in Blu-ray DVD players but serve the same purpose as stereolithography.
3D printing is no longer restricted to the engineering world. It is having a large impact on a number of other industries including medical, education, manufacturing etc. There are many educational institutions already making use of additive printers who have incorporated it into their curriculum. This is also happening more because 3D printer prices are dropping.
It’s exciting to see this technology reaching out to more fields and expanding to its full potential. In recent years, one could say that the technology had come a little ahead of time but not any more. The time has come and the future belongs to these printers and lowering 3D printer and scanner prices will only make the technology escalate much faster.
To find out more about the latest in additive scanning and printing visit Rapid Prototyping at MIT to see how they’re pioneering, developing and utilising this technology.