Sunday, February 2, 2014

Follow-up on 3D PrinterExpo

My last post focused heavily on the RigidBot printer, which I backed via KickStarter.  I mainly did that for all of my fellow backers which ponied up some cash for it.  However, there were quite a few other very nice printers there. It was geek heaven, at least for me.

There were many other manufacturers there, from other KickStarter projects and independant companies.  Also some design software, 3D printing services, etc etc.  Am jotting down what I found neat.  Here is their pdf version of their floor plan.

In no particular order:

3D Printer Corp

This booth didn't really invoke images of splendor or quality.  However, one look at their sample prints and couldn't see, or feel, any ridges commonly associated to 3d Printers.  They used the printers which require resin (SLP I think).  Looks like they had very high quality resins (which can only get if buy their printer). The sample parts they had were very detailed and looked like some of them came out of a milling machine, it was that smooth.

The printers start out at $10K and go upwards of $300K.  The person manning the booth was definitely full of himself, but he had some reason to be with the quality I saw.

Based on the prints I saw, I expect close to the same quality from another Kickstarter project I backed, The Peachy Printer.  Still a ways from fruition but the layer depth is highly customizable, hopefully laser accuracy is very precise.  This project is in no way related to this booth.


Didn't look at this booth all that much, though did catch a glimpse of the software they displayed to control 3D printers from a desktop computer.  This looks to be primarily a 3D filament company, which is essential to 3D printers.

Primary feature of the software I saw was the ability to schedule jobs and have them run in that order. For that functionality looks like computer needed to be connected to printer, though it is possible to export the STL (or GCODE?) files to an SD card, which would then insert into most printers.  One of the few printers it doesn't support is the MakerBot's, which is fine by me.


This was a very nifty, compact, and "cute" little printer.  It was featured in Make Magazine as the top printer from 2013.  Looks like can't read the article but they had the magazine at the booth, but here is an overview.  Also, sadly but not surprisingly, looks like they are, or were, being sued by Stratysis.  It seems like they're the equivalent of Monsanto, but a different industry.

The printer is priced at $1,599.00.  Not sure where their pricing numbers come from but for me it seems a little steep in comparison to what you're actually getting. Did like the printer, it was very quiet and looked very well designed.  Small print area though looked like it was truly load n print, in that there isn't much configuration to be done.


This company also had a successful KickStarter, which I didn't back.  Drama is never far from 3D printing as here is another one which was, or is, embroiled in a lawsuit over patent infringement.  Don't know the resolution, or anything else, about the case other than what's in the link.

This printer is a very nicely polished one, and very functional also.  Looks like the prints are high quality, no plastic extrusion, and it's a very nice job.  Didn't catch the price, but it's definitely not a cheap one, though it's a very nice package.


The printers on their webpage don't look familiar so might be mistaken on this one, but location jives from what I recall about this booth.

What struck me as odd about this printer is that it uses 3mm filament.  Most of the printers at the show used the thinner 1.75mm filament, so was quite surprised.  Questioned them on this and said one of their primary reasons for this is there's more material to grip so feeding the plastic into the extruder is more reliable.  Dunno, unsure, but sounds plausible.


This company has had two KickStarter projects.  One for their Kossel Pro printer and the other for an OpenBeam construction kit.

Saw these people at the mini MakerFare in Seattle this part year and was very impressed.  While there, there was also a Google booth with a 3D printer, and the engineer who owns that printer was here also.  He has a very unique, and neat, self leveling system where, prior to print, it takes measurements of the bed height in many places and adjusts the raft, or bottom later, as needed to make printed object the proper size.

The Kossel Pro printer they had on display at this booth is the one from KickStarter.  While it's not truly for sale yet, it'll be listed on Amazon when it is.  The creator of printer was showing me some very neat, and nifty, things he did with the print head, such as adding 3 very small fans to blow air down around the print head and also through the print head so the heat doesn't go up the shaft and cause plastic to melt before it's time.  They had a very nice display and if space permits I will be considering buying one of these!

Other booths

There were several other noteworthy booths to mention, but running out of time. It was a great experience to be here.

The entrance fee was a little high, $35 for two days, or $35 for one day, didn't matter.  For the talks there were two prices, but not so for entry into the "floor" area.  Only complaint.

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