Startup 3D printer make Solidoodle has begun selling the fourth version of its Solidoodle 3D printer online for $999. The company emphasized the user experience in this latest model. It has a sturdier metal frame to protect the machinery better, the company said, and a visual simplicity that is meant to appeal to the public more. Loading the spools of plastic filament, ABS or PLA, into the printer is easier thanks to a back loader. The spool's placement is supposed to also lessen printing errors such as tangles.
The underlying technology of the Solidoodle 4 is similar to the Solidoodle 3 (a Tom's Guide Best 3D Printers pick). It has the same 8 in. x 8 in. x 8 in. (20.3 cm x 20.3 cm x 20.3 cm) print area, the same .1 micron to .4 micron print resolution range, the same heated build platform, though the electronics are now separated in their own enclosure to better protect them from the heat.
While $1000 is a high number, the Solidoodle 4 comes out below the price of 3D Systems' Cubify Cube ($1,299) and well below the MakerBot Replicator 2 ($2,199). And when you consider that the Solidoodle 4 is delivered fully assembled, not requiring the hours of assembly that many other budget 3D printers need, it is a competitive product. There have been successful Kickstarter projects with sub-$500 prices, but those printers are usually not as polished.
Beyond the Solidoodle online store, the Solidoodle 4 will also be for sale at Micro Center retail locations.