The World’s Top 3D Printer Companies
3D printer companies have been in the public eye more than ever this past year, and they’re definitely here to stay. This technology promises a lot and the companies that offer it right now have an advantage and a good chance of making it big in the future, when these printers will be mass produced. A 3D printer allows its users to create objects, made from various materials (resins, plastic, metal). Right now, each printer specializes in a certain material (plastic and resin for the cheaper ones), but in the future we might see 3D printed objects made from various materials.
One of the well known players in the 3D printing market is RepRap, an initiative which aims to create a printer which will be able to print components which can be used to build another similar device. The name comes from Replicating Rapid Prototyper and everything produced by it is offered under GNU GPL, so it’s open source.
Four different 3D printers were released by RepRap so far, their names being Darwin, Mendel, Prusa Mendel and the last one is Huxley. The most recent model released was in 2010.
This is a relatively new company, founded at the end of 2011, by Sam Cervantes, one of the veterans of this industry. This companies produced 3D printers which are affordable and easy to use by consumers and professionals alike. It’s based in the US and it made the top 200 startups in tech list from CNET in 2012.
Their latest model is Solidoodle 3, a model which has a very large build area, one of the best available for 3D printers designed for consumers. The printable dimensions for this 3D printer are 8 by 8 by 8 inches, with a volume of 512 cubic inches, which is double what the previous model from them offered. They’re offering it for $799, which is a good price for a 3D printer of this type right now.
A company that was founded back in 2009, MakerBot is the biggest manufacturer of 3D printers for desktop use right now. One in six models sold between 2009 and 2011 was built by this company. Right now, it is estimated that 13,000 3D printers from MakerBot are used by researchers, designers, tinkerers and engineers from all over the world.
The latest model from this company is called Replicator 2 and it’s a fourth generation model.