LAS VEGAS -- Do you wish 3D printers were larger, so you could print bigger objects? Do you wish they were smaller, so you could put one on your desk or workbench at home? Robo 3D has you covered, with new larger and smaller versions of its R1 3D printer debuting at CES 2015.
The R2 and R2 Mini 3D printers were both announced at CES 2015 this week. Scheduled to go on sale this spring, the R2 will cost between $1500-1800 and the R2 Mini between $499 and $599.
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The R2 has a build volume of 10 by 10 by 10 inches - a tad larger than original R1's 10 by 9 by 8 inch volume. The R2 Mini has a much-smaller build volume of 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches.
Both the R2 and the R2 Mini can print in a range of materials including PLA and ABS plastic. On display at Robo 3D’s CES booth were a number of composite materials such as PLA mixed with bronze, and PLA mixed with wood. Objects printed in these materials have a beautiful, stylish finish that looks very different from the brightly colored plastics usually seen in consumer 3D printers.
None of Robo 3D’s printers have proprietary cartridges, meaning owners can experiment with just about any filament material they wish.
Both R2 and R2 Mini are able to reliably print layers as narrow as 100 microns (typical of most consumer printers), although a Robo 3D representative told me the printers have been able to do 50 microns on the highest setting.
To send print jobs to the printer, you can connect to a computer via USB, load 3D files on a SD card, or send jobs over the printer’s Wi-Fi connection. The R2 and R2 Mini also both feature an LCD touch screen, so you can more easily manage your print jobs right from the device.
The R2 has a few extra features the Mini does not, such as a second extruder, which allows it to print in multiple colors or even multiple materials at once. You could print a wheel, for example and make the tire part out of a rubbery material and the inside spokes from a firmer plastic.
Robo 3D also introduced the R MEGA, an enormous 3D printer with a build volume of 39 by 39 by 39 inches. Going on sale later this year for around $10,000, it will likely be for pros and businesses.
Robo 3D has also announced a partnership with Spectrom 3D, a startup that has developed an attachment that lets users print in multiple colors from a single thread of filament. The Spectrom attachment, which will be integrated into Robo 3D's R1 printers later this year, takes in plain white filament and dyes it in bright colors as it's being fed into the 3D printer.
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Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and onGoogle+.