At the 3D Printer World Expo, we had the opportunity to meet Brook Drumm of Printrbot.  The amiable, laidback founder of the low cost 3D printer manufacturer not only treated us to the skinny of the 3D printer world, but he showed us a sneak peek of a new 3D printer his company was working on.  Unfortunately, we pinky swore that we wouldn’t tell anyone. Fortunately, that printer has now been made public and we can tell everyone!

In the past, you may be aware, Printrbot has produced open-source machines made of laser-cut plywood. The new Printrbot Simple from Printrbot is a sleek upgrade from its predecessor with a frame made entirely out of metal and powder-coated with a brilliant red colour. While the new metal body has an obvious aesthetic appeal, it also contributes to the stability of the machine, simultaneously dampening the noise produced by the printer.  The upgrade is also slightly larger than the wooden version, with a Z-axis rod that has increased from 8 mm to 12 mm and a new build plate that expands the overall build area from 4”x4”x4” to 6”x6”x6”. Finally, the new Printrbot Simple has a Z-axis end-stop adjustment knob and a self-leveling bed, which can help to avoid the enormous headaches associated with bed levelling.According to MAKE, the new Simple allowed for superior test prints compared with the wooden version when it came to quality, consistency, ease and print speed.  Watch Brook unveil the machine to MAKE below:

The new Simple will be released Spring of this year with a price above the price of the current, wooden Simple and below the Printrbot Jr., putting it somewhere between $399 and $699.  The plan is to replace their Assembled Wooden Simple with the all-metal version, but still offering the wooden printer in kit form for $299.

Most other manufacturers have long since done away with laser cut plywood, in favour of more easily mass-produced machines. Brooke Drumm explained at the expo that they’d always remain open source, hoping never to bow to the demands of capital, and the laser cut parts seemed to reflect that philosophy. I wonder, in looking at the new machine, if Printrbot is slowly changing its image, and perhaps its philosophy, or if they’re just evolving. Take a look at some of the pics, or head to the 3D PrintShow in New York this week to see it in person at the Printbot booth, and tell us what you think.

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Source and Image credits: MAKE