3D Systems 3DTouch Vs MakerBot Replicator

The 3D Systems blog is a typical corporate blog which serves to give out information in a formal and peaceful manner. At least that’s what I thought until I read this post titled “3DTouch Prints ‘Bigger’“. Looks like the folks at Marketing have decided to go hammer and tongs after Makerbot’s Replicator. And I’m beginning to like their fire. ūüėČ

It all started at the recently concluded CES 2012 in Las Vegas where CNET did a face off (see video) between the Cube and the Replicator. Frankly, I believe the comparison wasn’t fair to both sides because the machines as well as their target audiences are completely different. The Cube is designed to be used by consumers. Whereas the Replicator is meant for the makers and DIY crowd – folks who like to tinker around, build their own hardware and hack stuff.

I left this comment on Rachael Park’s blog post mentioning the face off:

“You hit the nail on the head. Makerbot should be compared to the 3DTouch, not the Cube. And you are right. It’s not just the looks that will sell the Cube or any other real consumer printer. A lot depends on what a consumer is expected to know or do before he gets his first 3D print. How much he needs to mess around with the device? Does he need to in the first place? Does everything just work out of the box?”

The 3D Systems blog post I mentioned above drives this point in. It goes to say:

“And while we applaud the recently released 300 cubic inch build volume of the MakerBot Replicator‚ĄĘ, the 3DTouch‚ĄĘ, which was launched last year, beats the MakerBot Replicator‚ĄĘ hands down. The 3DTouch‚ĄĘ is easy to use, comes with a choice of one, two or three print heads and was the first 3D Printer to offer an intuitive touch screen user interface.”

3D Systems Marketing didn’t lose the opportunity to take a shot at the looks of the Makerbot:

“The clean lines, acrylic frame and internal electronics means the consumer won‚Äôt have to hide it – they can proudly display their 3D printer for all to see.”

Looks like the gloves are off. ūüėČ

3D Systems 3DTouch

Makerbot Replicator

Frankly, if I had to put a 3D printer in my home I would prefer something like the Cube. Maybe I would consider the 3DTouch. But definitely not the Replicator. It looks hideous. Period.

  • Ingenierocad

    I can see your point
    but I can reverse it either.
    Who is the actual tarjet for a 3D printer. I¬īm not talking two years on, Im talking NOW
    3D printers has two main markets
    1-Professional user, for rapid prototiping and so
    2-Hobbyist, makers, educative porpose

    For the first group a well finished product, good printing “out of the box”¬† support and 3D printing quality its mandatory, and this kind of printers dont have anything¬† to do VS real proffesional printers and their, for example, laser sintering.

    For the second group a good support comunitiy, possibility of learning, self serviciability,and possible upgrades are the real facts people are searching (and price, very important fact obviated in the post). In those points, makerbot or any other similar product wins “hands down”

    I can bet for each of those printer selled, it would be at least two makerbot out (and many more if you cont replicatorbot or repraps…)

    • To build a house and start living in it one year from now, you need to lay to foundation today. Nobody is saying that 3D printers will pop up in everyone’s home today. I’m simply saying that when they do they won’t look and work like these hobbyist printers. That quite simply will not happen.

    • you say price is a very important fact making the Makerbot a winner???
      I just jumped on the makerbot website the thing’o and the cupcake do not seem to¬†available¬†to buy anymore and from memory the thingO was $1500 now the replicator is $1750 in a comparison the the Cube 3d at $1300
      as a tinkerer myself i would still go for the cube unless it can be proved the replicators quality is far better.
      extruded 3d printers are hobby devices no matter what anyone says and money is the greatest contributor to the decision on buying one

  • Your post was so wonderful Thanks to sharing

  • Donceod

    I hope you can write in the future more things about CAD, like comparison or tests. I knwo you are now close to 3D-Systems, but the printer market is for an R&D Engineer not really interesitng the most of us has good suppliere for fast proto parts.

    And to be honest, the 3D printer (initial costs, maintenance) and specially the material is so expensiv you will never get a ROI.

    • Not to worry. I ain’t leaving the CAD world. Trust me, 3D printing and CAD are woven together in ways you can’t imagine. ūüėČ

      • d3print

        Agreed, I`m also waiting what will happens.  http://www.deelip.com/?p=5808#comment-184211017 

      • d3print

        Agreed, I`m waiting how does it go with cad and 3d printing fusion. http://www.deelip.com/?p=5808#comment-184211017

    • gale

      Like mechanical engineer, for now I agree, I am not interesting in 3D printing technology (mainly reading about it). I am lucky when I see any blog post without “3D printing” header:)

  • Great information ūüėČ

  • o2k2

    The 3D Touch cost almost twice as much as the replicator. ¬†Not to mention the over priced cost of materials. ūüôĀ

    • Cory Blank

      Yea… It also has over 3 times the build volume of the Replicator. Not to mention a more¬†sophisticated¬†software package, greater print¬†tolerance, 120F hotter tip helping it support a wider¬†variety¬†of¬†materials¬†(HDPE, LDPE, PP and uPVC), a lead time not measured in months, etc.

      Now I’m not bagging on the MakerBot team (I love those guys), I’m just pointing out they are very different machines and that accounts for the¬†justifiable¬†price difference. For my needs, the 3D Touch seems to fit almost¬†perfectly¬†while the¬†Replicator is borderline at best.

      Regarding the material costs… you don’t have to purchase from the supplier of the printer, and neither is the best place to buy¬†filament.

  • Very
    information and nice design. I really like your posts and your style.