Jury out on promises, but $347 3D printer is fun

3D manufacturing has been touted as the new revolution in American Manufacturing — even by the President himself.

Today, Brookyn-based MakerBot is promoting that Made in America hook by showing its Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer ($2,199) at the MoMA Design Store in New York City as part of a ten-week event called Destination: NYC • Made in the USA. Both the 3D printing machine and novelty items it will make — think little Statues of Liberty, Empire State Buildings, Taxi Cabs, and other NYC-themed nicknacks — will be on display and for sale.

Whether 3D printing becomes central to a new breed of American Manufacturing — currently a $1.7 trillion entity — remains to be seen. But additive manufacturing is certainly within reach for hobbyists: MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis says that the 3D printing process is increasingly easy thanks to 3D "ecosystems" like thingiverse.com, where designers can borrow and share 3D-printing CAD files — some 80,000 at last count.

Taking another tack, another new 3D-printing machine doesn't require users know any CAD software at all to design and print parts. A startup called Pirate3D has just finished a prototype of its consumer 3D printer that will soon be available for the low, low price of $347. Called the Buccaneer, the machine based on fused-filament fabrication. A Wifi connection allows design sharing.


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on Apr 3, 2016

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What's Product Design Engineering?

Existing and emerging technologies immediately applicable to product design, as well as industry trends that promise to change engineering.


Elisabeth Eitel

Elisabeth is Senior Editor of Machine Design magazine. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Fenn College at Cleveland State University. Over the last decade, Elisabeth has worked as a...
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