The most common 3D printers we currently read or hear about print with plastic in some form. Due to its less-durable reputation, compared to metal, the perception exists that the outcome, the printed part, is cheap or useless for anything other than a trinket, keepsake, or prototype model. While that perception is untrue, or inaccurate, many people believe 3D printing will not achieve real market penetration until a metal printer becomes affordable like the popular thermoplastic printers today.
There are many metal 3D printers on the market today; most at a price point that reaches into the six figures. Printing with metal is done every day, around the world, with high end systems from companies, such as, Arcam, ExOne, EOS, and Renishaw. You can see a longer list of the variety of 3D printers in production today at the Wohlers Associates page: Manufacturers and Developers of Additive Systems and Materials.Read more