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Polaroid Hopes to Make 3D Printing Family Friendly

Polaroid is hoping to bring the anyone-can-do-it approach from its instant photo glory days to 3D printing. At CES, the company unveiled a new lineup of printers and pens, with a decided focus on making 3D printing a family activity.

The entry-level 3D printer, the PLN1, even bears a passing resemblance to the Polaroid instant cameras of old, right down to the rainbow band. The PLN1 comes in pink, black, white and blue and includes several family-friendly features like a enclosed print area with a locking door to keep small fingers out of danger. The print bed isn't made of metal so it's cooler to the touch, too.

The same kid-friendly touches appear on the Polaroid DRW100, the company's new 3D pen. The pen displays the temperature of the filament and offers features designed at controlling the flow of PLA or ABS material.

MORE: Best 3D Printers

Pricing and Availability: The DRW100 pen ships in March for $129. You can opt for a wireless version for $149. Polaroid's 3D printers arrive this summer, with prices starting at $499 for the PLN1. Polaroid plans to release other models, too: The PLG1 will feature a larger print area and a built-in camera to see the progress of your builds; a pro version of the PLG1 will feature a dual printing head. Those models will be priced closer to $800.

Key Specs: Perhaps the most important spec on the PLN1 3D printer is its compact size. At 10.6 x 10.6 x 10.6 inches, it should fit easily into a home or classroom. It can handle prints up to 4.7 x 4.7 x 4.7 inches.

What's New: Polaroid has put out 3D printers in other countries, but the PLN1 printer and DRW100 pen will be the first offerings in the U.S.

Outlook: Polaroid has a recognizable brand name from its days as the instant camera king, but it's unclear what that will mean for people looking for a budget 3D printer. XYZprinting's da Vinci Mini 3D printer is our top-rated model for budget users, and it's half the cost of what Polaroid's proposing for the PLN1.