[Design Prototype Test] got a box in the mail. Inside? An E3D “tool changer and motion system.” Superficially, it looks like a 3D printer, but it is touted as a machine that can mount several different kinds of tools, including a 3D print head. In the video below, you can see the assembly of the heavy-looking machine.
In a world in which a cheap 3D printer costs way under $200, this machine is much sturdier and costs about $3,000 with all the pieces. [Design Prototype Test] is a bit put out by the price, but you have to wonder if they aren’t trying to allow for an eventual CNC head for which the extra-sturdy build could be an advantage. However, the use of motion belts makes that seem like a long shot.
We’ll be curious to see what the final result will be with this machine. The reviewer was pretty unhappy about the price and a few other items. However, the tool-changing mechanism seemed to make him happier. He stopped short of putting together the four print heads and extruders for lack of a Bowden tube. Maybe we’ll get to see a part two video.
Even at the high price, the machines are waitlisted so you probably can’t get one right away. If you are interested in more details about the machine you can check out E3D’s site. We can’t tell if this is an overpriced 3D printer, a bargain high-quality printer, or if there is some tools on the way that might require the sturdy nature of the motion system. We do like the idea of decoupling the design so you can buy what you want and even later expand to a multi-head system.
What will the market think? Time will tell. We like the idea of using 3D-printer-like systems for things other than 3D printing. Of course, what we really want is a 3D printer for PCBs or, at least, metal.