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Perhaps one day in the future, 3D printers will be as common as any other appliance in the household, like a toaster or microwave. In the meantime, it's all about small victories as the technology inches closer to the mainstream. Taking a step in that direction, MakerBot today announced that its 'MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer' has begun shipping out to customers.
The Replicator Mini, as we'll refer to it from here on out, is one of the company's new fifth generation 3D printers. it was originally announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year and has won a handful of awards since then.
"As soon as we announced the MakerBot Replicator Mini, we received calls and orders from customers who couldn't wait to purchase this easy and affordable 3D printer," said Bre Pettis (PDF), CEO of MakerBot. "We see the MakerBot Replicator Mini as a turning point in the 3D printing industry. Much like the transition of the computer moving into the home 30 years ago, the MakerBot Replicator Mini is one of the first 3D printers to shift from the office to the home."
Though it's billed as a comparatively affordable 3D printer, the Replicator Mini carries a $1,375 price tag, which isn't exactly chump change. However, it's affordable in the sense that some other 3D printers can run much more, and it's the least expensive one MakerBot offers.
Using the Replicator Mini, you can find and download 3D printable items from Thingverse.com. The online destination has over 300,000 free downloadable digital designs to play with. You can also purchase and download files from the MakerBot Digital Store, or create your own 3D prints.
You can find out more (and place an order) on the Replicator Mini product page.