An Explosion of Mini 3D Printers

What did we see a lot of at the 2015 CES? Mini 3D printers, that’s what we saw. 

Continuing a trend first observed in 3D Systems (the original Cube) and MakerBot (the Replicator Mini), many other vendors seem to be releasing “mini” versions of their full-sized machines. 

Aside from the LulzBot Taz Mini shown at the top, here are a few of the “minis” of 2015:

Robo3D’s R2 Mini

The Ultimaker 2 Go

XYZ Printing’s Da Vinci Jr. – Only USD$349!

SeeMeCNC’s Eris

These machines typically offer a 100-150mm cubed build volume, which is somewhat smaller than typical flagship machines. They also (with some exceptions) do not have heated beds, making them practically able to print PLA plastic filament only. You’ll not see many bells and whistles on these inexpensive machines. 

Why is this happening? There’s likely a few reasons:

  • The mini machines are less expensive because they’re somewhat smaller and often have less capabilities. This permits the manufacturer to address a slightly larger market, with folks who could not otherwise afford the more expensive versions.
  • Many personal 3D printer operators simply don’t print large items, and the small build volumes of these machines are often “good enough” for many people. 
  • A trend in size seems to be emerging, and manufacturers are wise to match trends in case they get left behind. 
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