Friday, 25 January 2013

Solidoodle 2: Affordable, Out-of-the-Box 3D Printing

Solidoodle 2: Affordable, Out-of-the-Box 3D Printing
In a world filled with $1,000, $2,000, and even $40,000 3D printers, the Solidoodle 2 is an anomaly.  A 3D printer designed for the homes and desktops of hobbyists, its costs start at only $499!  
At Replicator World, we were curious about the Solidoodle 2’s price and capabilities, so we spoke with Sam Cervantes, the company’s founder and CEO.  First, we asked him about the conception of the Solidoodle 2.  “ When we first designed [it], we set out to create a printer that meets the needs of the majority of people.  We had three things in mind: quality, affordability, and ease of use.”
The Solidoodle 2 has all these qualities and more.  Once you order this mini-desktop factory, you can install its software package, and using Google Sketchup (as Mr. Cervantes demonstrates in the video above), a very intuitive modeling program, you can convert that Sketchup file into a file the printer will understand by sending it through the Solidoodle software.  Compared with other CAD programs many 3D printers utilize, such as Skeinforge, this process is a breeze.    
The original Solidoodle could only print 4X4X4’, but the Solidoodle 2 prints objects that are 6X6X6’. However, as Mr. Cervantes explains, “there are some slight limitations, such as overhangs [and other complex structures] (the limit is about 60 degrees) but aside from that the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.  Our customers are printing toys, new inventions, useful objects for around the house, and nearly anything else…” 
We also asked him about the printer’s phenomenal price: “We’re able to sell the Solidoodle 2 at such a great price [fully assembled] because of the great engineering design.  Using my background as an aerospace engineer, I applied world-class engineering and design principles to create a totally unique printer from the ground up.”
Mr. Cervantes then went on to discuss the sorts of people who would want to buy a Solidoodle 2.  “Our target customer is a designer, dad, or hobbyist who wants a printer at a great price that works well right out of the box…the majority of our customers begin printing in an afternoon.  We expect our future products to be even more efficient and easier to use.” 
And what sorts of things are these designers, dads, and hobbyists going to be printing?  Mr. Cervantes has a great example.  “My personal favorite creation with the Solidoodle 2 is the Star Wars Yoda,…I like it because it’s a great demonstration of what the Solidoodle 2 is capable of.”
Indeed, many of the Solidoodle creations are impressive.  Mr. Cervantes says that “Solidoodle users all around the world are sharing their ideas with each other on our Google group, forum, website, and with each other.  Already we’re seeing new innovative 3D designs emerge organically within our community, and the possibilities are endless.  We see a bright future for 3D printing and the open sharing of digital designs.” 
We at Replicator World couldn’t agree more with Mr. Cervantes.  We look forward to a world where 3D printing, like computers and cell phones before it, “is something that we can’t live without.”
Photos courtesy of                       

No comments: