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Printers - Consumables

MakerBot Ships Compact 3D Printer

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MakerBot Ships Compact 3D Printer

Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot ships a 5th generation 3D printer-- the Replicator Mini Compact, a small (as the name suggests) consumer printer promising easy and affordable 3D printing.

First announced at CES 2014, the printer uses FDM technology and supports STL, OBJ, Thing and MakerBot object files. An on-board camera allows users to monitor 3D printing process (via soon released MakerBot Mobile app), while a Smart Extruder handles actual printing.

"The MakerBot Replicator Mini is one of the first 3D printers to shift from the office to the home," the company says. "We're excited to have the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printing Platform and our Fifth Generation 3D printing technology inspire creativity and innovation in adults and children alike."

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The Mink 3D Printer.. for Makeup

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The Mink 3D Printer.. for Makeup

Outside of mad CES demos the worlds of makeup and printing hardly ever get to meet-- if until now, as self-described "serial inventor" Grace Choi reveals the Mink, a small 3D printer allowing one to create makeup, not cheap plastic doodads.

It might sound more than a bit weird, but Choi has a very sound concept behind the device. You see most, if not all, makeup is made from the same set of basic ingredients, and pricing markups are based on either scale (i.e. common pinks and reds are cheaper than more exotic colours) and branding. Thus Choi suggests customers should simply dump the middleman and mix pigments with powder, cream and other such materials and make their own cosmetics. Smart, no?

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Juniper: Consumer 3D Printer to See "Significant" Growth

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Juniper: Consumer 3D Printer to See

According to Juniper Research global consumer 3D printer sales will exceed 1 million units by 2018-- a long-term yet significant increase over the sales of 44000 units the analyst estimates for 2014.

Driving growth during the period is the entry of established vendors in consumer 3D printing space such as HP, as well as more attractive pricing and a widening scope of applicability.

The established printing vendors are still to "show their cards," but niche and novelty 3D printing applications are on the rise. For example, Hasbro and Hershey are developing unique consumer applications for the technology, while M3D's low-cost Micro printer is something of a Kickstarter success.

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Kickstarting Consumer 3D Printing

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Kickstarting Consumer 3D Printing

Will 3D printing technology truly reach the mass market? M3D believes so as it reveals the Micro, a device it describes as "the most affordable 3D printer that can be used right out of the box."

The Micro is a compact (it weighs 1kg) cube-shaped device promising reliable and low-power 3D printing. It prints objects using PLA and ABS plastics, as well as M3D filament spools, and reportedly prints out a teacup in all of an hour.

Print layer resolution is 50-350 microns, while print area clocks at a maximum of 116 x 109 x 113mm. In other words printed objects are not too large, the printer allows for cheap and cheerful plastic trinkets. M3D also promises user-friendly software allowing users to easily search for, organise and print objects.

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HP to Take on 3D Printers: How Come?

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HP to Take on 3D Printers: How Come?

At the annual HP shareholders meeting CEO Meg Whitman confirms the company is set to enter 3D printing space, with an official reveal to take place on June 2014.

According to Whitman the company solved what she says are the two main problems of the technology-- speed ("it's like watching ice melt" Whitman says) and quality ("the surface of the substrate is not perfect"). HP will initially target market verticals demanding systems for the creation of prototypes and finished products, but will also target service providers for consumers wanting individual print jobs.

Currently 3D printers are the domain of smaller vendors such as 3D Systems and Stratasys, so why would a giant such as HP want to take on the technology? A Canalys market forecast might have the answer. According to the analyst the 2013 global 3D printing market is worth $2.5 billion, and will rise to $3.8bn in 2014 before reaching $16.2bn by 2018.

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The Smallest LG Printer Yet

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The Smallest LG Printer Yet

LG reveals what it claims is one of the smallest mobile printers around at CES 2014-- the Pocket Photo 2.0 (model PD239), a miniature device able to print 5.1 x 7.6cm photos from iOS and Android devices.

The company says the mini-printer is 4mm thinner than the first Pocket Photo model, and uses ZINK technology to print at 313dpi. It connects to mobile device via NFC or Bluetooth after the installation of a free Pocket Photo app.

Users can also embed QR codes in photos for enhanced sharing.

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Conrad Takes on 3D Printing

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Conrad Takes on 3D Printing

German CE retailer Conrad Electronic launches an own 3D printer-- the Renkforce RF1000, a relatively inexpensive model set to be available as either a kit or a complete, ready to use unit.

The printer connects to PCs via USB, and features an SD card slot. It makes use of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) to print models up to 250x235x175mm in size using ABS, PLA, PVA, EcoPLA, PET, Tauman, Laybrick, Bendlay, Laywood-D3, HIPS and ABS smart materials.

Conrad says the printer is easy to use, and can also mill and engrave in plastic, wood, aluminium and brass via optional replacement components.

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HP Ships 200 Million LaserJets

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HP Ships 200 Million LaserJets

HP announcement the shipment of the 200 millionth HP LaserJet printer-- an event the company describes as "an unprecedented milestone" for the nearly 30 year old brand.

In celebration HP will show off limited-edition commemorative LaserJet printers at Customer Experience Centres around the world, including Barcelona, Bejing, Mexico City and Palo Alto.

It also launches the "200 Million and Counting" customer sweepstakes. Customers can share LaserJet-related testimonials on a special site, before HP chooses a winning testimonial from each worldwide region 24 December 2013. The prize? A limited-edition LaserJet MFP.

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The 3D Printer Opportunity

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The 3D Printer Opportunity

The idea of 3D printers (3DPs) as a growth market might sound far fetched, but not according to Gartner-- the analyst predicts 2013 global enterprise and consumer sub-$100000 3DP shipments are to grow by 49% to 56507 units.

Shipments will only increase further in 2014 (98065 units with 75% growth) and 2015 ("near doubling of unti shipments"), while end-user spending is to reach $412 million with 43% growth in 2013, up from $325m in 2012, before growing by 62% to $669m in 2014.

"The 3DP market has reached its inflection point," Gartner claims. "While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results."

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