I’ve written about 3D printers before – more of the peripheral DIY varieties such as fab@home, Evil Mad Scientist, RepRap, and the designs from VUW grad students. I’ve also posted about the other commercial end like Z-Corp’s 450 printer which retails around 40 grand. But we’re starting to see a shift in the commercial variety towards a more accessible and relatively affordable one that you don’t have to build yourself.
3D Systems, a leading provider of rapid prototyping and 3D solutions, partnering with manufacturer and well-known printer brand Canon Virginia, will be releasing their V-Flash compact desktop 3D modeler which can build “ready-to-use, three dimensional models within hours from home, school or office workstations.” It is really compact at 30″ H x 27″D x 24″W, which is smaller than the current printers out there and builds models of 7 x 9 x 8 inches tall. This modeler uses 3D Systems’ latest “fourth technology platform” of disruptive Film Transfer Imaging (FTI), which I’m trying to find out what it is exactly, but it hasn’t yet made it to Wikipedia! (Correct me if I’m wrong and point the way.) This one will retail for US$9,900.
I think this is exciting to see commercial 3D printers being produced and retailed more affordable for a larger and broader segment of consumers (albeit still somewhat pricey). It’s a step towards the mainstream, which is exciting in itself. With more schools, offices and basically ordinary folks having access to this sort of technology, it’ll be amazing to see what new products and designs will come from those who previously wouldn’t have had the tools to make any!
You can see an overview of how it works at their website: