Companies will go to fascinating lengths to demonstrate their belief in a product, but there was still something refreshing in watching Solidoodle founder Sam Cervantes climbed atop his company’s latest creation, beaming. After all, the announcement of a $500 printer back in April left us wondering what sorts of corners the company would have to cut to offer a product at a fraction the cost of what Cervantes’ former employer, MakerBot, has brought to the market. Asked whether Solidoodle had to make any compromises to hit such an impressive price point, the one-time aerospace engineer stood by his product’s build quality. And then he stood on it.
Announced in November and due out next month, the company’s latest product doesn’t quite hit that price point. Solidoodle had to drive cost up a fair amount to double the last generation’s build platform to 512 cubic inches. Still, $799 seems like chump change for entrance into the nascent world of home 3D printing, particularly for a device that is built as solidly as Cervantes claims. The team popped by our New York offices to drop off and stand on the Solidoodle 3. Cervantes was quick to point out that the printer is still firmly in prototype mode (in fact, it’s the first prototype to leave the confines of the company’s headquarters), with his team doing its damnedest to get the product in the hands of customers by early next month. A quick glance at the rear of the printer confirms this — there’s a fair amount of exposed wiring back there and the spool of plastic hangs on an exposed PVC pipe.