by General Fabb
The Up! personal 3D printer from China produces terrific output and it's been around for a couple of years now - but now manufacturer Delta Microfactory Corporation announced an entirely new product: the Up! Mini. While they're still going to offer the original Up!, the new Mini focuses on lowering costs.
The new product uses "value engineering", meaning it is made with somewhat less robust components, similar to what you'd see in an inexpensive PC. In fact, the styling of the new mini resembles that of a PC. One passerby at Rapid 2012 upon seeing the Mini remarked, "Hey, that looks just like a PC!" It also costs just like a PC: USD$899, assembled.
While the components may be less robust, the printer produces output that is very similar to the original Up! unit. Resolution is 0.25mm instead of 0.20, not noticeable by many consumers. The build size is also slightly smaller, going to 4.75 inches cubed from 5.25 inches cubed in the original.
The Mini's most obvious new feature is its case. Opening the door shows what it's all about. While this enclosed build area is not explicitly heated, it acts as a "Heat Retention Chamber". This slight addition of heat apparently provides some protection against the dreaded ABS plastic warp effect.
The other major factor in the new Mini is ease of use. The device ships already assembled, like its predecessor, but is also completely ready to roll. Even the bed is pre-leveled for you, while other manufacturers' products often require a leveling step even for assembled units.
Can you get one? Nope, you have to wait until June 1st to pre-order one.