Print 33 comment(s) - last by Kevinmc1953.. on May 17 at 12:51 PM

Images courtesy The New York Times
Desktop Factory to introduce 3D printer for $4,995 USD

3D printers have been around for industrial use roughly a decade, but they have been matched with outrageous price tags. The first models to hit the market were priced at about the same as a fully loaded Mercedes S-Class, while models today can be bought for about the price of a Honda Civic. The price erosion is expected to continue in the next few years with prices dropping below $5,000 USD by the end of 2007.

3D printers are already in use by doctors, dentists, architects and even the U.S. military. The high price tags of existing 3D printers may have not been a turn-off for the aforementioned group, but was completely out of reach for consumers.

Desktop Factory -- a company founded by IdeaLab --  is aiming to bring to market a consumer-oriented 3D printer this year for $4,995 USD while the cost of materials is expected to be $0.50 per cubic inch. "We are Easy-Bake Ovening a 3-D model," said IdeaLab chairman Bill Gross.

The Desktop Factory 3D will build models layer by layer from bottom to top. The models are constructed using nylon which is mixed with aluminum and glass and then hardened by heat. The Desktop Factory 3D printer will measure 25" x 20" x 20" and weighs less than 90 pounds. It can build 3D models up to 5" x 5" x 5" constructed of layers 0.010" thick.

"In the future, everyone will have a printer like this at home," Cornell University Professor Hod Lipson. "You can imagine printing a toothbrush, a fork, a shoe. Who knows where it will go from here?"

The possibilities are endless for the consumer according to Desktop Factory director of sales Joe Shenberger. "You could go to, download Barbie, scan your Mom’s head, slap the head on Barbie and print it out," said Shenberger. "You could have a true custom one-off toy."

"When laser printers cost more than $5,000, nobody knew they needed desktop publishing," added A. Michael Berman, CTO for Pasadena's Art Center College of Design. "The market for 3-D printing isn’t as big as for laser printers, but I do believe it is huge."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: The printer may be cheaper...
By Justin Case on 5/8/2007 7:40:31 PM , Rating: 2
The article states that "the cost of materials is expected to be $0.50 per cubic inch".

BTW, after you have a 3D plastic model it's relatively easy to make a mould, that can be used for large-scale duplication. These things aren't really meant for mass production (they're very slow). Most industrial moulds these days start their life as as prototype from a 3D printer.

By mckrautski on 5/8/2007 8:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
That $.50 material cost is a bit misleading though. At a .010" layer resolution, it'll take a heck of a lot of sanding to remove all the aliasing and make functional prototypes out of those things. So you gotta figure in the cost of having a technician doing all that hand labor on top of it.

To get aesthetic prototypes you'll then have to figure in the cost of color matching, painting and surface texture matching too.

Don't know what the power cost per print will be either.

The price for the device is excellent, but given the amount of work after printing that you need to do, it'll still make more sense for my company to send most prototype work out to companies that have high-end machines and an optimized system for the finishing operations. This strikes me as more of a tech demo or a toy than a practical machine for in-house rapid prototyping. Solid modeling programs are good enough now that the need for coarse prototypes like this machine produces is diminishing rapidly.

Now make a machine for this cost that spits out protoypes that are look good enough to show customers at a trade show and I'll jump for joy. This is a step in that direction, but it ain't there yet.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular ArticlesAMD, Zen Processor might power the upcoming Apple MacBook Pro
September 30, 2016, 5:00 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Are you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
Apple’s Siri Speaker is a Game Changer
September 26, 2016, 5:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki