On a slow, muggy night I’ll sit back, pop open a can of high density polyethylene and take a look at all the activity happening in the world of 3D fabrication. It’s invigorating. I highly recommend it.

Recently, on such a night, I came across two bits of info from my two favorite fab sites, Fabbaloo and Replicator. I’ve started paying more attention to the low-cost 3D printer news since featuring the Vinyl + Resin Work of Cris Rose with the desire to print out some of my own models for resin casting. If you’re wondering what’s up, you’ll find this interesting too.

3D Systems buys Desktop Factory

Ah, good ol’ Desktop Factory. They died, but it was always assumed someone would resurrect them. That someone is 3D Systems, one of the major players in rapid prototyping machines of the high definition SLA variety. It’s a bit of a surprise since 3D Systems has had a bit of a net loss on revenue, even though it’s improved a bit over the past few months. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do with the intellectual property they purchase. Seeing the Desktop Factory players with 3D Systems would no doubt be a benefit as the go after the Desktop Printer market. More info here

Solido 3D Desktop Plastic Sheet Printer

The Solido SD300 is a 3D Printer I recall seeing at PTC/User, but at the time didn’t give it much thought. It’s unique in that it’s the only Desktop Printer using Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) where it layers polyvinyl sheets together with solvent and cuts the model with a set of knives. That’s pretty cool. See the video below to get a better idea. The downfall of this is that there’s gonna be a lot of waste when removing the model from the surrounding material. Still, it’s an interesting process.

Sub-$20k 3D Printer Comparison Chart

Don’t ya just love a good comparison chart? This one is right handy too. It lays out the product, bed size and quality, how much you’ll pay for material and for machine. You could probably guess though – The higher priced 3D printers are gonna have the best quality. For that you’ll be buying a Zcorp ZPrinter 310Plus for right under $20k. Another option, and not listed on the chart, is the Shapeways option, where you’ll just pay only for the 3D printing service/shipping.

You can see the entire comparison chart here.

Solido Ltd. SD300 Pro LOM
plastic layer lamination
[US price]
18.3×30.3×16.5 in
97 lbs (incl. material cartridge)
6.2×8.25×5.3 in XxYxZ solvent bonded polyvinyl $18/lb fair, but pronounced stepping

Desktop Factory news via @JosephFlaherty
Solido news via Fabaloo


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.