Only The Best 3D Printers Rise To The Top
For most people in the 3D Printing realm, 2010 was the beginning of the introduction of low cost, pro-consumer quality 3D Printers. All of them of the FDM variety. Makerbot was the shining star and their first printers made in Brooklyn were considered state-of-the-art. Of course they got a lot of help from the open source community which has since left them in the dust.
The introduction of passably viable 3D Printers early on created a somewhat false sense that these first machines represented the best technology for additive manufacturing. One year later there were 20 more machines on the market and by 2014 a new 3D Printer was coming out of Kickstarter every week. Some are still around, most are sitting in closets or adding to the mass of waste in our landfills.
Companies that made filaments for the printers had modified their commercial extrusion processes to make filament that, for the most part, was not really designed specifically for the 3D Print heads. PLA, ABS and HIPS were the most common filaments around and everybody had problems printing with ABS. Today, filament manufacturers are making products that are made for the new hot ends and new extruders and filaments that offer more than just being able to make a copy of a toy dog.
Two companies entered the market in 2010 that embodied the open source concept more and better than any other 3D Printing company; Ultimaker ( Cura ) and Aleph Objects maker of the TAZ line of 3D Printers. By sharing their designs with the world they found technical support and ideas from thousands of hobbyists and engineers who helped make these companies household names in the 3D Printing world. As a result both of these companies; one located in Colorado ( Aleph) and the other in the Netherlands ( Ultimaker ) have a huge following of users in almost every country where 3D Printing is used.
Like any new technology, it takes time for people to adapt, but 3D printing became cool very fast and in only 5 short years additive manufacturing is now present in over 71% of all companies in the US and is the best way to prototype, design and develop new products with the ability now to actually do limited production of usable parts. No other technology has had this type of impact in our society and the fast acceptance by the youth has created a huge market for all the existing as well as the new additive manufacturing machines.
In 2016, both Aleph ( LulzBot ) and Ultimaker are still around creating new and better versions of their last machines on almost a 18 month basis. Reliability, performance and tremendous technical support have cemented these companies for the foreseeable future. Of course there are other 3D printer companies here in the US and around the world that have made it through the first phase of technology development. But now, most people have had enough experience with the good, the bad and the ugly lines of 3D printers and companies will have to make sure their systems perform as well as the leaders.
Of course here at LiteWorld we are partial to the LulzBot line as a reseller and major user of all their machines. We also make an enclosure that will fit easily over any of the TAZ printers or other printers on the market. For more information on what we do in our world, go to our website at: https://www.liteworldllc.com.