Print Your Chocolate!
Choc Creator, is the world's first chocolate 3D printer launched by Choc Edge Ltd. You can feed various brown, dark, white, red, blue, chocolate materials into the printing head to get yum chocolates that can be eaten!
3D printing is nothing but converting a digital design into a real three dimensional object. The process of 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process because unlike other conventional manufacturing processes, objects are created through sequential layering. The 3D printers either melt the source material and deposit it onto a surface, or they directly use liquid source material. The extra axis, Z-axis, gives the print the depth that is needed to create a 3D object. For creating the object, most printers use FDM (fused deposition modeling) technique, in which the plastic filament (ABS - acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or PLA - polylactic acid) is used.
A lot of printers have been developed for the industry, but the consumer market is yet to receive powerful printers. Here, we have mentioned some of the best printers that are fast becoming popular. For those who want to know how this technology works, click here.
* The printers are listed in no particular order.
Cubify CubeX Duo
|Dimensions||515 (w) x 515 (l) x 598 (h) mm|
|Maximum Build Size||230 (w) x 265 (l) x 240 (h) mm|
|Support Material||PLA / ABS / Dissovable Natural PLA|
|Z-axis resolution||0.100 mm (0.004" / 100 microns)|
|Print Resolution||100 microns, 250 microns, and 500 microns|
|Warranty||90 days replacement|
Image Source: Cubify
The CubeX range of 3D printers from Cubify has an amazing print area of 1098 cubic inches. You can print multi-color objects, i.e., each part can be of a different color. You can choose from 18 vibrant colors that are available in ABS and PLA plastic materials. Not only this, you can also print multi-material objects, i.e., you can choose ABS where durability is required, and PLA where fine detailing is needed. It is available in single, double, triple head print models.
USP: You can print objects in different colors and source materials.
|Dimensions||464 x 483 x 381 mm|
|Maximum Build Size||200 x 190 x 100 mm|
|Support Material||ABS and PLA plastic filaments|
|Z axis resolution||75 to 500 microns|
|Warranty||90 days replacement|
Image Source: Lulzbot
This 3D printer from Aleph Objects, Inc., comes as a fully assembled piece, which allows you to print as soon as you buy the product. This printer comes with unlocked hardware and software so that you can play around with them to improve the output. Apart from the regular ABS and PLA plastics, you can also print wood, translucent, glow-in-the-dark, polycarbonate, and other materials. The printer comes with a 0.25 mm, 0.35 mm, and 0.5 mm nozzles with optional 0.15 mm and 0.75 mm nozzles. Their software being freely available, you can easily upgrade them.
USP: The unlocked hardware and software gives you opportunity to customize the printer output.
The Form 1
|Dimensions||300 x 280 x 450 mm|
|Maximum Build Size||125 x 125 x 165 mm|
|Support Material||Acrylate Photopolymer Resin|
|Z-axis resolution||25 microns|
|Warranty||90 days replacement|
Image Source: Formlabs
This printer from Formlabs uses Stereolithography (SLA) technology, which uses a liquid resin instead of plastic filaments. The build speed of the printer in the Z-axis is about 1.5 cm/hour. The layers created by this printer is as thin as 25 microns, while it can print small ridges as tiny as 300 micron. Remember, one micron is equal to 0.001 mm, so you can imagine the minuteness of the ridges. The support materials are designed in-house, like resins of different colors or the default clear one. The elasticity of their resins is equivalent to that of ABS. You can import your .stl files to this printer's parent software.
USP: The SLA technology is known for speedy printing, 1.5 cm/hour in this case is the fastest printing speed amongst the lot.
Makerbot Replicator 2
|Dimensions||490 (l) X 420 (w) X 380 (h) mm|
|Maximum Build Size||285 (l) X 153 (w) X 155 (h) mm|
|Warranty||1 Year replacement|
Image Source: Makerbot
The Replicator 2 printer provides a layer thickness of 100 micron, which the maker claims to be smooth enough to avoid any post-production processes. The printer's volume has increased by 37% from the original Replicator. It uses a PLA filament which is useful for printing complex projects. The machine allows you to multitask, by dragging multiple models on to the virtual build space, and then build them in one go. It comes as a pre-assembled machine, so you don't waste time in putting all the parts together. It supports .stl and .obj file types, and can create a .thing file which holds multipart projects in one single file. This will save you creating multiple CAD files for each part in a project. This device is compatible across Mac/Linux/Windows.
USP: The superior finish of the printed object eliminates any post-production processes.
|Dimensions||740 x 790 x 1400 mm|
|Maximum Build Size||236 x 185 x 127 mm|
|Support Material||High Performance Composite|
|Z-axis resolution||0.004 inches (0.1 mm)|
|Print Resolution||0.016 inches (0.4 mm)|
|Warranty||90 days replacement (US)|
Image Source: 3DSystems
This printer from 3DSystems, is a monochrome printer which has a huge print envelope of 236 x 185 x 127 mm. The build speed of the device is 20 mm/hour. You can convert the GIS data into a 3D landscape and cityscape models. This machine has automation capabilities like automatic powder loading and self-monitoring of material and print status.
USP: This low-cost (as per industry standards), business quality printer is so small in size that it can fit in a classroom or lab.
Disclaimer: Prices mentioned may change according to location and offers.
According to a new market research report published by MarketsandMarkets, the 3D printing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23% from 2013 to 2020, and reach $8.41 billion in 2020. With so much potential, it is not surprising to see that Microsoft has added a 3D printer app in the latest version of Windows 8.1. Though these 3D printers may seem pricey, the cost is expected to further reduce in the years to come. For now, you can buy these printers to build your models in 3D, by creating the drawings in software like CAD, SolidWorks, Inventor, etc.