During this year’s 3D printer shootout, where our group of experts compared a whole bunch of 3D printers (See the results here!), there were many conversations about what we were all excited to see. Sure, we all enjoy seeing a few iterative improvements here and there, but what really brought reactions of giddiness from our testers was talking about things we couldn’t get our hands on to test yet.
Here are four machines that repeatedly came up in conversation as machines we would love to put through their paces. Hopefully next year we’ll get our chance!
SinterIt is bringing SLS printing to the desktop, where lasers burn fine powders into physical objects.
At $5,000 or less ,(correction: $8,000) these printers will appeal to those who have a big wallet and need better quality than standard FDM printing.
Carbon3D’s resin-based printer made waves this year with their “continuous printing” technology that allows an item to be created very quickly with almost no visible layers. The extreme speed at which this system uses UV light to solidify resin — stated to be an incredible 25 to 100 times faster than current SLA printers — will change the use of printers in manufacturing.
Typical prints from almost any 3D printer are not quite strong enough for industrial use, especially if what you need is both strong and light. MarkForged is embedding their prints with carbon composites, allowing for fully 3D printed parts that can withstand pressures similar to metal. Their pitch is that you can now print functional parts that used to require a mill to fabricate.
Voxel8 wants to expand the function of the 3D printer outside of passive parts. By printing in conductive materials you can embed circuits directly into your prints. Simply add the electronic components and you’re finished. Printing entire functional electronic gizmos isn’t too far away for this group.