2017: The Year in 3D Printers


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We’ve reached the last days of December, which means that it’s time to start looking back on what’s happened in 2017. Whether you’re reviewing the year with a nostalgic or a “thank goodness it’s almost over” attitude, there’s no denying that it’s been an eventful year, and that’s true in the 3D printing world as well as the wider one. 2016 saw lots of big new 3D printer releases, and 2017 was no different. There were many big industrial systems introduced, as well as plenty of desktop machines. As always, crowdfunding platforms had plenty to offer, and trade shows were full of new releases.

So let’s take a look at some of the new 3D printers that were unveiled this year. As long as the list is, it barely begins to cover the number of machines that were introduced to the 3D printing world. That really shows, once again, just how big the 3D printing industry is getting – more and more machines are making an appearance, so many that it’s impossible to cover them all. Here are a few!

Industrial 3D Printing Systems

[Image: Sarah Goehrke for 3DPrint.com]

Several companies introduced major new industrial 3D printing systems this year. GE Additive gave us a look at its brand new binder jet additive manufacturing system a couple of weeks ago, promising big things to come within the next year, and also recently unveiled the first BETA machine developed for its meter-class Project A.T.L.A.S. system. Ethereal Machines won the CES Innovation Award for its novel 5-axis 3D printer/CNC machine hybrid. In other news, Renishaw launched its RenAM 500Q four-laser additive manufacturing system at formnext, the same show at which Trumpf introduced what it claims is the fastest, most productive medium-format 3D printer in the world, the TruPrint 5000.

EOS debuted the EOS P 500 this year, while Roboze, continuing the 500 theme, introduced the ARGO 500. Sharebot introduced two new professional 3D printers, and XJet unveiled a new NanoParticle Jetting system that can work with ceramic and metal materials. Formalloy introduced Blue Laser technology with its new L-Series 3D printer, and XYZprinting entered the industrial 3D printing market with several new professional machines. Nano Dimension took the DragonFly 2020 to the industrial level with the DragonFly 2020 Pro, and voxeljet introduced High Speed Sintering technology with the VX200 system. Wave3D brought out the industrial SLA Wave3D Pro.

Formlabs announced its first SLS 3D printer over the summer, and the hybrid manufacturing trend continued with the release of another 3D printer/CNC machine combination from 3D Hybrid Solutions and Multiax International, as well as OR Laser’s new ORLAS CREATOR Hybrid. Much excitement was generated in April when Desktop Metal revealed its long-awaited Studio System and Production System. A new technology was introduced by way of Coobx and its LIFT technology, and Carbon rolled out the M2 3D printer. Ackuretta Technologies introduced a new industrial DLP 3D printer by way of the Ackuray A135. The dental market stayed strong, with new dental 3D printers from Structo, Stratasys, Prodways, and EnvisionTEC.

[Image: Carbon]

Desktop 3D Printers

[Image: Prusa]

The desktop market had plenty happening as well this year. EnvisionTEC had a lot of new releases this year, including the Aria, the least expensive 3D printer in its inventory so far. Kodak released the dual-extruder Portrait 3D printer while Winbo introduced the FDM-Value and FDM-Value Plus 3D printers, along with the large format Dragon(L)4. BCN3D followed up its popular Sigma 3D printer with the larger Sigmax and reformulated the Sigma as the Sigma R17, and Prusa brought out the new Original Prusa i3 MK3. Shining 3D introduced the EinStart-C along with a new educational package, and educational 3D printing company Dremel released the new 3D45 3D printer.

In the spring, MagicFirm Europe released the industrial desktop ZYYX Pro 3D printer, and MakerGear rolled out two new desktop 3D printers. The 888 PVC 3D printer from AONIQ fell into the growing category of industrial desktop 3D printers, as did Leapfrog’s new industrial Bolt Pro. The always-reliable WASP brought out two new dual-extruder machines. The sub-$100 STARTT 3D printer was introduced by iMakr, and XYZprinting, in addition to entering the industrial market, rolled out several new desktop 3D printers as well, including new large-scale and full-color FFF 3D printers. After nearly shutting down, Ilios 3D bounced back with the Photon 2.

Crowdfunded 3D Printers

[Image: BlackBelt 3D]

As always, Kickstarter and Indiegogo were extremely busy this year, and some of the year’s most inventive 3D printers came out of the crowdfunding platforms. The MIGO from MakeX can 3D print while being carried in a specialized backpack, while T3D introduced an SLA 3D printer activated by a mobile phone. Natural Robotics funded a new desktop SLS 3D printer, and crowdfunding also boosted the second generation MOD-t as well as a 3D printer for architects. The Cubibot hit its Kickstarter goal in two minutes, and the Obsidian met its goal in three.

Another novel idea came from the conveyor belt-based BlackBelt 3D printer, which met its goal in 15 minutes and heralded a trend of conveyor belt 3D printers. Another successful campaign introduced the eco-friendly Bean 3D printer, and the wildly successful Snapmaker campaign showed that hybrid desktop 3D printers are still popular. G3D’s T-1000 SLA 3D printer was also highly popular on Indiegogo, and the Milkshake3D SLA 3D printer struck a chord with artists, its intended audience. The NIX… full-color 3D printer also saw success.

Looking back at 2017, the big news was largely in the industrial 3D printer market. Companies brought out not only new systems, but new technologies. That doesn’t mean that innovation was absent from the desktop market, however – and some of the most innovative technology came from the crowdfunding platforms. Overall, it was an eventful year in the 3D printing world, with promise for much more to come in 2018, and we look forward to covering what’s to come in the new year.

What 3D printers stood out for you this year? Let us know at 3DPrintBoard.com or below. 


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