There was something quite unusual about the 3D printer manufacturers exhibiting at CES 2014 versus those exhibiting the previous year. At the London 3D Printshow, for example, we saw dozens of plastic filament machines, typically regionally focused.
At CES 2014 we saw multiple resin-based 3D printers. It seems that the expiration of patents has permitted the emergence of new ventures specifically focused on exploiting the UV-cured resin approach.
Previously the only personal 3D printer entrant producing a resin-based unit was Formlabs, who launched the Form 1 over a year ago. But last week we saw units from Old World Laboratories, Lightforge and FSL3D, all of which use cured resin technology.
These vendors all claimed various advantages over Formlabs’ offerings, citing statistics and specifications of various sorts. While this may appear to be huge competition for Formlabs, they don’t seem to think so. Formlabs reps we spoke with said the presence of resin-based competitors simply validates their business model and they’re quite happy to compete with them.
We think the competition is a good thing; it’s rarely a happy time when one vendor has a monopoly and that’s definitely not happening in the 3D resin printer market.
Watch out for the machines with the orange lids.