For many of the smaller 3D printer manufacturers, simply launching a product is the end of a long struggle. By now, there are enough different manufacturers that new players in the market have to bring something special to the table if they hope to get noticed. For a few companies, however, producing a solid product that does what it claims it will do is enough to move forward.
Founded in 2011, Solidoodle has continued to produce additive manufacturing (AM) systems that, while not fancy, generally perform as advertised. As a result, the company has been able to continually refine its manufacturing methods and release updated models on a regular basis. The company’s newest offering is the Solidoodle 4, a desktop AM system that moves away from RepRap aesthetics to a sleeker, more professional appearance. Continue reading
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
Let’s start today’s Roundup on the right foot. Nike is using AM not only for prototyping, but to manufacture new shoes, specifically the brand new Vapor Laser Talon (VLT). The VLT (sounds like a sandwich) is a football cleat that has been optimized for the 40-yard dash, with selective laser sintered soles designed to help athletes keep the proper stride. Continue reading
It may be that the big money in additive manufacturing (AM) is in the industrial systems, but don’t discount the effect home 3D printers can have on the industry. 3D Systems reports the Cube is selling nicely, and I wouldn’t expect MakerBot to go out of business anytime soon. Smaller companies are making their own contributions to the home industry, and Kickstarter is full of 3D printer start-ups.
Solidoodle is one of these smaller companies that seems to be doing quite well. We first covered the company here, with a look at the first generation of Solidoodles. The company is now up to version three, and we thought we might take a look at the latest offering to see what’s new. Continue reading
A fair amount of the drive of independent 3D printer manufacturers has been to lower prices to bring the systems within fiscal reach of a broader audience. You can find several 3D printers for under $1,000 (the Solidoodle goes for $500, for example). No one expects these printers to produce the same quality of objects as a professional system, but maybe a few can get close.
Deezmaker began life as a Kickstarter project, where it nearly quadrupled its goal of $42,000. The startup has produced its own line of printers, named Bukobot after the creator’s dog. That is fairly impressive all by itself. Most small businesses offer a single 3D printer or maybe two at most. Deezmaker offers four different versions of the Bukobot.
The line was even longer by the coffee pots on the last day of RAPID 2012. I manfully shouldered my way through the crowd to get my own cup of wake up, noticing as I did so that there were already two empty containers sitting forlorn and abandoned. Java in hand, I found a seat in the conference room to await the keynote speech by Terry Wohlers. Really, this time.
Wohlers began by informing the crowd that this was the 20th year of RAPID. The industry has changed a lot in more than two decades. According to Wohlers, since 1988, the CAGR of additive manufacturing (AM) has increased by 26.4%. Around 6,500 industrial AM systems were sold in 2011 and material sales to feed those systems added up to $327 million. Continue reading