MAKE Magazine

MAKE Magazine (4)

Monday, 19 November 2012 10:20

Make Magazine Reviews 15 Personal 3D Printers

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Will the 3D printer be this generation's "family PC," found under the trees of early adopters this holiday season? Is this the "must have" gift this year for your favorite tinkerer or high-tech enthusiast? MAKE magazine, leader of the maker movement and producer of the increasingly popular Maker Faire events, thinks so and has created the Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing to explain this breakthrough technology. Available on newsstands November 20 and in the Maker Shed now (makershed), this first-ever guide to personal 3D printers explains what 3D printing is and identifies five standout printers in the growing pack to help prospective buyers make smart choices. Featuring 15 of the most popular printers on the market, MAKE editors and other recognized experts in the 3D printing field put the printers through their paces with rigorous side-by-side comparison and testing.

"It sounds like the stuff of science fiction -- an appliance in your home that can print out physical objects from your computer -- but 3D printing is here today and MAKE has created the first comprehensive guide to this cutting-edge consumer technology," said Gareth Branwyn, editorial director of MAKE. "Whether you're a tech-savvy family, a diehard hobbyist, or a professional maker looking for a powerful prototyping tool, the Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve."

The heart of the publication, the 38-page buyer's guide, compares printers across thirteen attributes including setup, ease-of-use, speed, reliability, accuracy, print quality, and value. Detailed reviews of each printer include tests results, pro tips, and standout features. The review summary offers handy at-a-glance comparisons and MAKE's ultimate recommendations. The special issue also details the software used in 3D printing, how to scan objects, how to design objects, and the variety of materials you can use for 3D printing.

"We also take a look at some of the most useful objects you can download and print, the coolest things people have created with this technology, amazing medical applications, what the future of 3D printing might look like, and more," added Branwyn.

And the winners are...

Best Overall Experience: Afinia H-Series; also won for Easiest Setup and Easiest to Use. MAKE Editorial Director Gareth Branwyn calls this printer family-friendly and jokingly refers to it as the "Easy Bake Oven" of all the printers tested.

Best Open Hardware: Ultimaker; also won for Most Accurate and Fastest. Branwyn says this machine is a tinkerer's dream -- for makers who want to get under the hood and tune their printer to perfection.

Best in Class (Premium): MakerBot Replicator 2; also a runner-up for Most Accurate. This is the machine for maker professionals, those who want to do modeling, rapid prototyping, product parts, and similar applications.

Best in Class (Midrange): Type A Series 1; also a runner-up for Most Accurate. This machine was identified as another printer for the serious enthusiast or professional, with its huge print volume and excellent output results.

Best in Class (Entry Level): Printrbot LC; A great "my first 3D printer," says Branwyn, a perfect way to get your feet wet without spending a lot of money.

MAKE is the first magazine and media company devoted entirely to the maker movement. Through a powerful combination of open source hardware, personal fabrication tools, and connected makers, MAKE and the maker movement are fostering sweeping changes, from the classroom to the boardroom. MAKE is a division of O'Reilly Media and based in Sebastopol, CA. "The maker movement has brought the pre-1970s world of basement workshops and amateur tinkering into the digital age." -- The New York Times

For more information, visit:

MAKE, the media brand and magazine devoted to the growing community of makers who create, build, design, tinker, hack, and invent, will host a workshop May 15-16, 2012 to explore the defining characteristics of the maker movement sweeping the country, and why it has the potential to fundamentally change business processes, from prototyping and manufacturing to sourcing.

"There are three contributing factors that distinguish the innovations of the maker movement from past technological shifts impacting business: open source hardware, collaboration in design, and new fabrication tools," says Dale Dougherty, founder and publisher of the MAKE division of O'Reilly Media.

"As open source software did for the rapid proliferation and growth of the web economy, open source hardware has been the key driver inspiring innovation in design, products, and devices from makers at the forefront of the movement," Dougherty adds. "Already we are seeing its impact in critical areas dependent on new technology, like medical devices and scientific instrumentation."

The premiere event will be held at PARC, a Xerox company in Palo Alto, that has its own legacy as a source of technology innovation. Held the week leading up to Maker Faire in the Bay Area, the business conference will also feature makers who will be displaying their projects the following weekend, May 19-20, 2012, at Maker Faire. Registration for the MAKE Hardware Innovation Workshop includes two passes to Maker Faire.

MAKE magazine, called "a central organ of the maker movement" by The Economist, was launched seven years ago. Maker Faire was launched a year later on Earth Day, 2006 in the Bay Area. Since then, the magazine and annual event held in both the Bay Area and New York has helped to foster growth in what's become known as the maker movement.

Today, gaining momentum on the backs of some core technology and tools, such as the Arduino microcontroller and 3D printers, the maker movement has been chronicled by the mainstream business press and the subject of research by august academic institutions like MIT Media Lab and Stanford.

Hosted by Dougherty and Tim O'Reilly, CEO and founder of O'Reilly Media, the workshop will introduce a number of hardware-related startups and showcase the platforms and new tools and technologies for prototyping and fabrication.

Other featured speakers and presenters include:

  • Kai Backman, co-founder and CEO of TinkerCad
  • Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino
  • Carl Bass, president and CEO of Autodesk
  • Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO of littleBits
  • Greg Borenstein, author of Making Things See: 3D Vision with Kinect
  • Liam Casey, founder and CEO of PCH International
  • Allan Chochinov, partner and editor-in-chief of Core77
  • Jeremy Conrad and Helen Zelman, co-founders of Lemnos Labs
  • Robert Cook, co-founder of Metaweb
  • John Dimatos, director of applications development, MakerBot Industries
  • Ben Einstein, founder of Bolt Accelerator Program
  • Brad Feld, co-founder of the Foundry Group
  • Andrew Filo, president of Optum Group
  • Ted Hall, founder and president of ShopBot
  • Mark Hatch, founder and CEO of TechShop
  • Andrew "Bunnie" Huang, founder of Chumby
  • Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables
  • Tod Kurt, co-founder of ThingM
  • Catarina Mota, co-founder of openMaterials
  • Nick Pinkston, founder of CloudFab
  • Bryce Roberts, managing director, OATV
  • Jay Rogers, CEO and founder of Local Motors
  • Marcus Schappi, president of Ninja Blocks
  • Nathan Seidle, founder and CEO of SparkFun Electronics

MAKE is the first magazine and media brand devoted entirely to makers and the maker movement and the powerful combination of open source hardware + personal fabrication tools + connected makers, to generate sweeping changes from the classroom to the boardroom. MAKE media properties enable the use of technology to create fun, inspired, and innovative projects, from the wildly popular MAKE website (; to Maker Shed, the online store featuring MAKE branded kits (; to Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth ( MAKE is a division of O'Reilly Media and based in Sebastopol, CA. "The maker movement has brought the pre-1970s world of basement workshops and amateur tinkering into the digital age." --The New York Times

For more information or to register, visit:

Every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, tune into for spectacular kits giveaways. We'll be giving away some of the coolest kits from the "Make: Ultimate Kit Guide 2012," including FIVE MakerBot 3D printers worth $1300 each!

What: Kit-A-Day Giveaway in celebration of the Make: Ultimate Kit Guide 2012. Unique kits from the folks that bring you MAKE magazine, Maker Shed, Maker Faire, and more.

When: Every day starting November 25th and ending December 23rd. Tune into Black Friday, November 25th, we will start off by giving away a MakerBot kit, so don't miss out! Each and every day we will give away a fantastic kit from the "Make: Ultimate Kit Guide" to one lucky reader, so check back each day and get into the maker holiday spirit.

Who: Makers, Do-It-Yourselfers, Techies, Tinkerers, Gearheads, Engineers, Students, Parents, Families, Crafters, Foodies and shoppers looking for unique gifts

For more information, visit:

Four companies that have shown outstanding support for independent maker/hacker culture will be presented with MAKE Magazine Industry Maker Awards (aka the "Makeys") on the next Make: Live. The awards show will broadcast live from World Maker Faire New York, at the Hall of Science in Queens.

What: In this special episode, live from World Maker Faire New York 2011, makers will offer a glimpse of the projects appearing over the two-day family event. Becky and Matt will check in with makers as they put the finishing touches on their art cars, flying robots, and automated Matrix-style imaging rigs. As part of the festivities, MAKE is excited to announce the first annual MAKE Magazine Industry Maker Awards, AKA "The Makeys." Companies and products are nominated in four categories -- "Most Hackable Gadget," "Most Repair Friendly," "Best Education/Outreach Program," and "Best Product Documentation" -- with the winners having been decided by a national public vote that ended Sept. 2. Find out who the recipients are by tuning into this special episode, Friday, Sept. 16, at 5pm EDT. In keeping with the spirit of MAKE, the physical trophies were produced in collaboration with (the 3D object sharing site), and manufactured by MakerBot Industries (3D printer manufactures).

When: Friday, September 16th at 2PM PT/5PM ET at:

Who: Makers, Do-It-Yourselfers, Techies, Tinkerers, Gearheads, Engineers, Students, Parents, Families

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