What is the difference between
an RP machine and a 3D printer?
The flippant answer is, “about $50,000.”
3D printers are really just lower-cost, somewhat less-capable, rapid prototyping machines. These days they sell at prices in the $10,000 to $25,000 range rather than the $60,000 (and up – way up) associated with their big brothers. With recent price cuts, it’s possible to buy a Solido LOM-based machine for less than $10,000, or a Dimension, FDM-based uPrint system for less than $15,000. Buyers who are willing and able to build a kit can be in business today for just a few hundred dollars. 3D printers have some additional, generally-agreed-upon defining characteristics: