Last year at CES 2013 in Las Vegas we saw the start of a pattern: two significant personal 3D printers we announced. Both MakerBot and 3D Systems showed off new flagship devices. As they have not released any new machines since then, we suspect they both plan big announcements.
But what could they be? With only one month to go until CES, it's time for speculation.
MakerBot’s announcement in 2013 was the Replicator 2X, still their most expensive machine. We expect them to announce a new machine that focuses on reliability, perhaps with new extruding technology. We may also see the first incorporations of Stratasys technologies, now that MakerBot is owned by Stratasys. Such features could strongly distinguish MakerBot's offering from other filament-based personal 3D printers.
Meanwhile, the other industry giant, 3D Systems is also set to announce new products. We expect to see more advanced versions of their introductory Cube 3D printer as well as an improved CubeX prosumer offering.
We also speculate that 3D systems just might announce a personal 3D printer that uses resin-based technology, similar to the Formlabs machine. Such a product could leverage 3D Systems’ significant expertise and long experience in this area - and their patents could ensure their product is unique, much as Stratasys is now leveraging their FDM patents to strengthen MakerBot.
On the other hand, we could be totally wrong. In any case, we'll see what happens in January.