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The 2014 3D Print Show begins tomorrow and Printrbot will be there, showing off its first metal-framed 3D printer.

One of the leading 3D printer manufacturers, Printrbot is known for low-cost, open-source, wood-framed machines. The new machine marks an evolution for the company, founded after a successful run on Kickstarter two years ago.

Foremost is the aluminum and steel frame, just slightly larger than the current laser-cut plywood Simple, and powder-coated in an eye-catching red color. The print bed has grown, too, now supporting prints up to 6″x 6″x 6″. (The wood Simple is capable of 4″x 4″x 4″ prints.) The increased print size is due in part to new Z-axis rods, grown from 8mm to 12mm — in a visit to MAKE, Printrbot founder Brook Drumm explained this makes them rock solid.

Our test prints on the metal Simple came out superior to those printed on the current wooden Simple in terms of quality, consistency, ease, and print speed. And while the metal frame looks sharp, it also helps absorb sound — in the test prints run in Make’s office, the new Simple made significantly less noise than the wooden Simple (aka, The Maker’s Simple).

The new Simple is also equipped with a Z-axis end-stop adjustment knob and a self-leveling bed, a function that we only saw two manufacturers using in our most recent 3D printer testing roundup. This really makes printing incredibly easy; Brook described that on his first test, he set the bed at a 20º angle and produced perfect results.

The metal Simple will be available to purchase this Spring. Pricing hasn’t been released yet, but Brook tells us it will be somewhere between the wooden Simple ($399) and the Printrbot Junior ($699). Printrbot plans for this to replace their current Assembled Wooden Simple, while continuing to carry the Wooden Printrbot Simple Kit ($299). Preorders will soon be available through Printrbot and The Makershed (use the form below to receive a preorder alert).

This is definitely the most refined Printrbot yet and it feels like a professional-grade machine. It looks cool, prints well, and is made in California. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these when they come out.

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