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May 16, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 2:28pm

Top 5 affordable 3D printers for 2014

Autodesk is the latest company to enter the 3D printing market.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

With the 3D printing market set to explode, companies have been racing to create printers that combine reasonable price, compact size and user-friendly operation.

CBR looks at five of the best 3D printers that you could realistically get your hands on.

1. Spark


Photo source: Autodesk

3D design and software firm, Autodesk, introduced its own 3D printer along with an open-software platform for 3D printing called Spark this week.

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The Spark software is expected to make the printing of 3D models more reliable, simpler and easier to control, while the printer will serve as a reference implementation for Spark.

Carl Bass, Autodesk president and CEO, said: "Together, these will provide the building blocks that product designers, hardware manufacturers, software developers and materials scientists can use to continue to explore the limits of 3D printing technology."

Bass also told the BBC: "We’re making a printer that, rather than just being able to load in proprietary materials, you can load in any material you want. You can formulate your own polymers and experiment with those.

Research fim Gartner has asserted that the Spark software platform will help improve the interoperability of software, hardware and material suppliers.

"Autodesk has drawn an analogy between its software platform Spark and Google’s Android offering: Both are designed as a foundation on which different providers can build tools that will meet their markets’ and users’ requirements," Gartner said.

Autodesk said it will launch the 3D printing software and 3D printer before the end of 2014.


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