While the smaller and lesser-known 3D printer manufacturers swept our Editor’s Choice awards, the well-established brands of course had huge presences at CES 2014 as well. 3DSystems, an industry leader, announced a total of 4 printing products and 2 types of 3D scanners, with something to offer everyone from casual users to enterprise manufacturers. Still, their best products were also the most offbeat, namely the CeraJet ceramic printer, and the ChefJet Pro sugar printer.
But first, 3DSystems’ entry-level model, the Cube, will retail at just under $1000 and has everything the casual user needs, but not much more. It features the typical fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology used by most commercially available 3D printers, and claims resolutions of up to 75 microns, which falls in line with some other upcoming mid-range printers. The Cube is distinguished by its ability to handle two different types of filament at the same time, allowing for dual color, or material, printing.
One step up from the Cube, the CubePro will appeal to the more advanced 3D printing crowd in terms of both features and price. For an extra $4,000 or so you get a larger, enclosed build well, WiFi capability, another filament slot for triple color printing, and increased printing speed. The CubePro also sports a full color touch-screen LCD to give users the ability to directly interact with their printer and get feedback before, during and after the printing process.
Thinking way outside the box, 3DSystems also brought two printers to CES, which use two very different materials: sugar and ceramic. Aimed primarily at restaurant professionals, the ChefJet Pro allows chefs to build extremely complex and fully colored pieces made of sugar. The ChefJet Pro can even print flavor by selectively incorporating certain additives during the printing process. There was no information on cost, but the monochrome consumer version of the ChefJet Pro, the ChefJet, will cost as much as the CubePro.
Looking to serve your sugar creation on custom dishware? 3DSystems' CeraJet replaces the more common plastic filaments with ceramics, and can print very complex 3D objects that are ready for the kiln. Once fired and glazed, your custom serving ware will be indistinguishable from handmade ceramics.