Media Coverage Of 3D Printing Still Problematic

We’re reading a very curious post on WT VOX that proposes a list of the “top 10 cheap 3D printers you can buy in 2016”, except it seems terribly wrong. 

The curious post includes several bizarre recommendations:

They include 3D Systems’ Cube 3, which has actually been discontinued! Yes, you can still theoretically buy one from their leftover stock, but with its requirement for proprietary plastic filament cartridges, why would it be recommended? This printer is even the featured image of the story! (above)

The article recommends the UP! Mini, which is a fine 3D printer, of course. However, Tiertime has just announced the UP Mini 2, a far superior machine with many more features. If you could buy a Mini 2, why would you even consider the old version? 

The XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 is recommended, but that company has released a far less expensive model, the da Vinci Jr., which would be far more suitable if you’re looking for a “cheap 3D printer”

They recommend buying the Peachy Printer, a very low cost resin-based machine that actually hasn’t even shipped yet (although we’re expecting to see it soon). 

In all, the post does recommend some interesting machines, such as those from Printrbot, M3D and others, but many of these machines are targeted at very different audiences. For example, those who might be interested and able to construct a 3D printer from a kit are seeking a very different machine than those who cannot. 

What disturbs us is that there are often stories such as this published to the world where they are undoubtedly read by those unfamiliar with 3D printing. These readers may find this type of report is perhaps their only exposure to 3D printing – and it’s just not right. This particular publication specializes in reports on gadgets of various kinds, and presumably 3D printing is just another one. 

But the issue is that when you look deeper, not all machines are the same. They are designed for specific markets and uses, and the optimum shopping algorithm must start with identifying how the machine is intended to be used and then go from there. That’s how we organized our interactive buying guides

Unfortunately, that’s not what the common tech blogs do, as it seems few writers understand the technology and are unable to produce truly useful material for readers. 


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