3-D printers are nothing new and inspired quite a sensation some years ago when they were conceptualized and even created. But they have been too costly to be available to common users. However, now at CES 2012 more than one companies are offering affordable 3D printers that can be used by a common user at home. These 3-D printers make use of plastic and can construct plastic products within minutes.
Marketbot Industries, a start-up from New York, has launched Replicator, a 3D printer. It uses a spindle of plastic thread, melds it and then moulds it into the design selected. The most interesting aspect is that anyone can construct a design using free graphic-designing tools and feed it to Replicator. And the replicator will create an exact prototype. Also, designs directly from Marketbot’s website can be used, which are available for free.
Replicator is currently available for a price of $1749 for one-colour objects. With an additional $250, you can also create 3-D objects in two-colour version. This device may bring a revolution in the world of arts and graphic design since anyone, even a kid, can create a design and than bring it into reality as a 3-D object with the help of a printer.
However, MarketBot is not the only company who has launched 3-D printers at CES 2012. Another company which has come up with them is 3-D System, a company based in North-Carolina. 3-D system was the pioneer company who claims that it was the first who first invented 3-D printers. 3-D System has a larger scope than MarketBot since it has employees all around the world and is traded on stock too. The device offered by 3-D System costs $1299 and is slightly smaller than Replicator. Still, it’s more user-friendly and has it’s own app store. The most interesting part is that 3-D system is also planning to support Microsoft’s Kinetic on it’s app store so that a design can be created simply by waving in the air, which Kinetic will capture and convert into a design.
Whereas 3-D printers spell an all new era of design, there are concerns that these printers make excessive usage of plastic and that, in long-term, can have adverse affects on the environment.