Engineer LLC will be investing in it’s first 3d Printer shortly, so we have been shopping the web for the best candidate(s). There are an number of options for the low cost (relatively) reprap based designs available. Ranging from scratch build with used parts to ready to print fully assembled units. Here’s a sampling of what I have found on the ‘net so far.
Start here with a good video synopsis of the low end of build it yourself to kit range by Neil Underwood… Still Extruding: RepRap Price Points
PrintrBot is an interesting newer product line of supplies, parts and kits. With the commendable goals of bringing the cost of entry even lower and making kit assembly simpler for beginners. This venture was launched via what appears to be the most successful Kickstarter technology campaign to date…
There are quite a few vendors popping up with offerings in the mid range with kits and some with fully assembled products such as PrintrBot listed above.
And then there’s the Granddaddy of all commercially available derivatives of the open source “reprap machine” with a Geriatric 3 years in existence… “Makerbot Industries”
For our first unit, we will likely be going with the Makerbot Replicator MK8 with the dual extruder option. This one comes fully assembled and features the all important dual extruder to allow for deposition of water soluble support material. When support material deposition is available, the printer is no longer limited to making only objects that are self supporting during build. This makes the unit more competitive with much more expensive “Mainstream” FDM printers.