Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Solidoodle - Your own, fully assembled 3D Printer for $499

GeekDad - The Solidoodle: A 3D Printer for Everyone

"There is a revolution upon us in the Maker community. Use of computer-controlled construction methods, such as CNC machines, laser cutters, and 3D printers is on the rise and the cost to build these machines from scratch or from a kit continues to come down towards the point where your average household will soon be able to readily download and print objects the same way we download and print off a document. A major jump in this trend comes from the creator of the Solidoodle.

The Solidoodle is a 3D printer, capable of printing a 6″ x 6″ x 6″ object with a basic price point of $499, and a spool of filament will run you $43. For comparison, there are many high-quality inkjet and laser printers that run for this cost or more on Amazon while the cost of toner cartridges and ink refills run a pretty wide range and can easily cost more than $43. The Solidoodle premiered recently at NY Tech Day and was named the best of NY Tech Day by CNET. I had the chance to sit down and Skype with Solidoodle founder and CEO Sam Cervantes and got some more insight into the printer. He is a very nice guy and talked with me for about 40 minutes so I’ve pulled the highlights below.




Now with a large 6x6x6 build area, starting at just $499.

Welcome to Solidoodle, the next generation of printers that allows you to unleash your creativity in three dimensions — and multiple colors. Turn your imagination into reality — one strand of plastic at a time. Adding layers, the Solidoodle 3D Printer takes your image and transforms it into a real product that you can use. Learn more.

Solidoodle - Solidoodle 3D Printer, 2nd Generation


Now with a bigger 6x6x6" build area!

Clean lines and easy operation - the Solidoodle 3D Printer is the right machine to turn your imagination into reality. Upload a 3D file and watch as the Solidoodle 3D Printer magically creates your part, right before your eyes. This is the printer for people who just want to print, not assemble a machine. The printer comes fully assembled with everything you need to get started - all you need to supply is a computer and power.

As anyone who has assembled a 3D printer from a kit can tell you - the process can be overwhelming... taking weeks and even months before you can even print your first object. At Solidoodle, we take the hassle out of 3D printing by shipping every machine fully assembled and ready to print -- right out of the box.

World Class Engineering

Aside from being fully assembled, what makes Solidoodle great? The Solidoodle 2nd Generation 3D Printer is designed by aerospace engineers to be extremely strong and precise at the same time. The all-steel frame is so strong, in fact, that a 200lb man can literally stand on top of the machine while it's printing. The Solidoodle's moving parts are designed so that they will move smoothly and never bind.

***Now Accepting Pre-Orders***

In order to get you the latest bleeding edge technology at the best price, we're currently accepting pre-orders. When listed as "In-Stock", your printer will ship in approximately 6-8 weeks after you place your order. Your credit card is charged at the time you place your order to reserve your spot in line. We work hard to ship your printer as soon as possible while still maintaining our rigid quality control standards.

Standard Features:

  • Creates plastic parts up to 6" x 6" x 6" - NEW!
  • Uses 1.75mm plastic filament (ABS recommended)
  • 11.5" x 11.75x 11.75" case footprint (LxWxH)
  • Durable metal frame
  • Fully Assembled & Tested



  • The printing software accepts 3D files in STL format - almost all 3D Design Packages can save/export to STL format
  • Open-source software downloadable on our website, see our guide on How To Install Software
  • Simple, intuitive graphical interface
  • Windows, Mac, Linux compatible

What's in the box?

  • Solidoodle 3D Printer, fully assembled & tested
  • Small roll of starter filament
  • Power supply
  • USB Cable



  • The resolution of the printed part is typically determined by the height of each layer
  • Typically we print at a layer height of .3mm, which gives nice surface finish and quick print time
  • It's possible to print hi-resolution parts at a layer height of .1mm, which gives top-notch looking prints
  • Clarification: the precision of the printhead in the horizontal plane (X-Y direction) is about .011mm (about 2300dpi). However, this number is a little superflous because we are extruding ABS plastic through a relatively larger .35mm nozzle, and all ABS plastic oozes a bit. So a more realistic & practical estimate of resolution in the horizontal plane is about .1mm. And to be crystal clear - this creates great prints. Trying to define the resolution more accurately than this is similar to trying to define the position of a garden hose nozzle to within millimeters - it's essentially meaningless since the water is going to expand anyway.


I so want to get my Dad one of these. He spends hours in Google SketchUp building different models and I don't think he ever imagined he could one day print them out as 'real' 3D models. Now that the cost is coming down to good printer range, this is getting more and more attractive. We'll have to see what the costs are like come XMas...

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