There are a growing number of “prosumer” 3D printers on the market, such as 3D Systems (DDD) CubeX Trio 3D printer that’s capable of printing in 3 different colors of plastic at once. But this machine goes for a hefty $3999 — you could buy a used car for that. Even the best 3D printers will never see widespread adoption at such a high price point.
While relatively affordable 3D printers once meant enclosures made of wood and user assembly required — like the Thing-O-Matic from Stratasys (SYSS) acquisition Makerbot — manufacturers are now targeting consumers with a series of lower-priced 3D printers, hoping to spur growth.
3D Systems and Stratasys are currently the big players in the 3D printer market, but everyone is waiting for the shoe to drop when a traditional (laser and inkjet) printing giant enters the market. It’s only a matter of time before Epson (SEKEY) makes its move, and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has already sold a HP-branded 3D printer (made by Statasys) and committed to releasing its own by mid-2014.
Even without familiar printer names like HP, Epson or Canon (CAJ) in the game, there are still some compelling 3D printers that consumers can choose from that won’t break the bank. Here are five of the best 3D printers that you won’t need to take out a loan to buy.