The World’s Most Expensive 3D Printers

How much would you pay for a 3D printer? Granted, when we started a decent printer might run over $1,000 but the cost has come way down. Unless of course, you go pro. We were disappointed that this [All3DP] post didn’t include prices, but we noticed a trend: if your 3D printer has stairs, it is probably a big purchase. According to the tag line on the post, the printers are all north of $500,000.

Expensive printers usually have unique technology, higher degrees of automation, large capacity or some combination of that, and a few other factors. At least two of the printers mentioned had stairs to reach the top parts of the machine. And the Black Buffalo — a cement printer — uses a gantry that looks like it is part of a light show at a concert. It is scalable, but apparently can go up to three stories tall!

Size isn’t always the biggest factor, but it helps. The ExOne S-Max Pro has a 1,260 liter build volume (see the video below). On the other hand, the Optomec LENS 860 looks large, but not that large. It does, however, create large titanium parts, so there is that. For wow factor, the SLM Solutions NXG XII 600 has a total of 12 lasers. Each laser carries 1,000 watts.

We put a few videos below. Check out the high-resolution print head on the Black Buffalo. Just kidding, we have printers almost as large as the orifice of that thing.

We’ve seen some pretty big printers before. Of course, some printers don’t have to be big to make really big prints.

9 thoughts on “The World’s Most Expensive 3D Printers

  1. Replace the sand with bicarbonate of soda and print in superglue. It might require bed cooling and fume extraction, but in theory, it could print very quickly, due to the low viscosity and almost instantaneously fast setting time of the reaction. Another valve to squirt through some release agent or a firm cap, would stop it setting in the machine between prints. My guess is it would flow well through a fine needle, but probably wouldn’t work very well in an ink jet printer head, although it might be fun to try that another medium for ultra detailed prints.

    1. Or replace sand with gypsum or floor tile glue and print with sodium silicate solution. Will not dry so fast in needle, but still cures very fast. With gypsum, you can’t even mix it, it cures so fast it makes flakes. Mixture with floor tile glue is very flame resistant, I experimented with using it for rocket nozzles.

    2. That would be a huge version of the old Zcorp machines that 3D systems took over. Powder with a binder and even colour.

      As a note: I believe that the S-Max might be roughly $1.5-2m USD installed. It’s designed for sandcasting molds.

  2. I bet the price of the machine when comparing Subtractive versus Additive manufacturing pays off in a hurry when you’re working on building structures from titanium, measured in cubic feet. (see the F-35 struts for an example)

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