Evident by the countless number of new releases and the sheer volume of devices throughout Maker Faire’s 3D Printing Village, 2014 was certainly quite the year for 3D printers — and it’s only getting bigger. In fact, recent Gartner reports suggest worldwide shipments of 3D printers will reach 217,350 units in 2015 — up from 108,151 in 2014. These shipments are expected to more than double every year between now and 2018, by which time units are projected to surpass 2.3 million. As a result, the market once valued at $1.15 billion will rise to an astonishing $4.8 billion in 2019, with consumer demand fueling the charge.
With the year just about over, we thought we’d highlight some of the next-gen machines that grabbed our attention over the past 12 months. As we look ahead, the future appears brighter than ever, which leaves us excited to see what 2015 has in store.
So without further ado, here’s a look at some of our favorite printers from 2014…
Earlier this fall, Massimo Banzi announced the launch of the company’s first 3D printer, the Arduino Materia 101. The device, which is powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) and a RAMPS 1.4 shield, is currently available for pre-order.
Based on the Atmel ATSAM3X8E MCU, the Swiss startup has taken to Indiegogo to unveil the world’s first desktop laser sintering 3D printer.
Announced back at MakerCon 2014, this ARM Cortex-M4 powered machine is certainly aimed at the mass market, catering to experienced Makers and novices alike. Capable of creating models of just about anything, the printer is equipped with its own on-board software, a color touchscreen, and can function as either a standalone device or connected to a computer. The toolmaker’s printer recently went on sale at Home Depot and Amazon.
After last year’s successful Kickstarter campaign for its large and versatile 3D printer, the gMax, gCreate has returned with a pair of upgraded systems: the gMax 1.5 and gMax 1.5 XT. Like the original, each of the printers are powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) along with a RAMPS 1.4 shield.
RepRapPro has debuted its newest Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 based 3D printer kit, which is the offspring of its successful predecessor, the Huxley.
The team over at CEL previously introduced its newest desktop 3D printer and micro-manufacturing platform, Robox. After having the chance to see the Atmel | SMART MCU based device at Electronica 2014, its creators may be right, Robox may very well “demystify” the 3D printing process.
Italy-based Bad Devices launched its latest 3D printer, the BadPrinter 2 — which is based on an ATmega2560 MCU. We had the pleasure of checking it out back at Maker Faire Rome, and certainly look forward to what the team has in store for 2015.
Printrbot’s first all-metal 3D printer immediately caught the attention of Makers following its debut earlier this year. Powered by an AT90USB1286, the machine certainly stands out from the pack with its metal construction and GT2 belt pulley system. The device was even named one to watch in 2015 by MAKE: Magazine!
After a successful Indiegogo campaign last year for its all-in-one, low-cost desktop personal fabrication device, FABtotum began shipping earlier this fall. The printer’s main board is powered by an ATmega1280 while an ATmega8 lies within its hybrid head. With a 210x240x240 mm build area, and a 24% print-to-printer size ratio, the FABtotum is already a solid choice when picking out a high-end printer. Heck, even Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi called it “undoubtedly the coolest 3D printer at Maker Faire New York.”
The Italy-based 3D printing company has expanded upon its popular FFF machines and Arduino partnership to SLS powder printers with the SnowWhite that is expected to launch early next year. Compared to the FDM, its creators say that the printer will use a system of thermoplastic powders that, starting from a digital file in CAD, creates 3D objects thanks to the sintering and fusing of a thin layer of polymer powder at a time. Oh, and the price tag will only be about $25,000.
Designed by 22-year-old Maker Yvo de Haas, Plan B is an open-source platform driven by an ATmega 2560. Unlike other 3D printers on the market today, this device works just like a desktop printer. The process is similar to the SLS process, but instead of using a laser to sinter the material, an inkjet printing head deposits a liquid binder onto a layer of gypsum powder.
The open-source printer, which was named MAKE: Magazine’s “Most Maker Machine” for 2014, is an extremely versatile device designed to bring DIYers’ wildest ideas to life. With more consistent, higher quality prints than ever before, TAZ 4 is designed with a series of plug-and-play features ranging from a dual-extruder mount to the ability to print two different colors or materials at the same time.
A team of Makers has created the world’s first autonomous 3D printing robot named 3&Dbot. Tethered to a base with four omni wheels, the entire printer itself can move to and fro in any direction — dependent upon the print data it is fed. After extensive research and development, the group of visionaries at PUC-Rio decided to embed an [Atmel based] Arduino board with wireless communication built in to its body. We’d say 3D printing is on quite a roll! Perhaps, the start of a new trend?
Designed by the crew at Australia-based startup Hardcotton, Elemental is the world’s first pressure controlled stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer. Powered by an Atmel | SMART ATSAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, the device is destined to become one of the latest and greatest innovations in the consumer space with its unique spin on 3D printing.
Shenzhen-based company Makeblock, known throughout the DIY community for their mechanical parts and electronics modules, recently released a 400-piece DIY 3D printer kit. Inspired by the demands of the RepRap open-source community, the Makeblock Constructor I is powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560).
Based on an ATmega1284P MCU, SmartBox is a low-cost 3D printer boasting a rather large building space and an LCD screen, which is just as easy to afford as it is to use. The machine was successfully funded on Kickstarter, garnering well over its initial $6,000 goal.
Created by Columbus, Ohio-based Todd Linthicum and Slade Simpson, David aspires to provide Makers the ability to use a variety of materials for their 3D-printed projects right out of the box.
Part 3D printer, part CNC router, all powered by an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560).
M-One is described by its creators as a “personal desktop factory” for Makers, designers, artists and engineers. Since its debut in June, the open source DLP 3D printer attained 134 backers and over $180,000 in funds, exceeding its initial $100,000 target.
The New PancakeBot
3D-printed breakfast? Yes, please! The latest iteration of the platform – which made its debut back at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 – comprises an acrylic body packed with Adafruit motor shields, an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280), two stepper motors, a pair of belt drives and a vacuum pump. The PancakeBot also made an appearance at this year’s inaugural White House Maker Faire, where it even created a flapjack for the President himself!
The PartDaddy by SeeMeCNC
A 16.2-foot-tall delta style printer. Need we say more?
Which 3D printer are you most looking forward to in the new year? Share your favorites below!