da Vinci 3D Printer
The da Vinci 3D printer from XYZprinting Inc. will cost $499. XYZprinting Inc.

3D printers are already pretty versatile but have yet to break through to the mainstream due to price constraints. At the CES 2014 electronics show, XYZprinting Inc. from Taiwan, revealed the da Vinci 3D printer with a starting price of $499.

The $499 price point for the da Vinci makes it the cheapest “plug and play” 3D printer out there. According to a statement released by XYZprinting Inc., “The da Vinci is a plug-n-play 3D printer with a large build size designed specifically for households and small businesses. With no assembly required, a smart design, unique safety features and easy-to-use cloud system, the da Vinci has redesigned the 3D printing experience making it more user-friendly across all aspects of the process than ever before.”

The da Vinci 3D printer allows users to access a cloud database for free 3D models and 12 different color filaments to choose from. XYZprinting Inc. says da Vinici users can create cups, bowls and smartphone cases with the 3D printer.

Simon Shen, the chairman of XYZprinting, Inc., addressed the pricing issue as the main hurdle in making 3D printers a mainstream option. Shen said in a statement: “With da Vinci we are moving 3D printing to the mainstream market by satisfying a need in the consumer and SMB segment for a 3D printer that delivers on affordability and usability.”

On Amazon and New Egg, there are 3D printer kits that users can assemble at price some would considerable affordable -- the cheapest being Printbot Simple at $299. But those kits require several hours of assembly. For those looking for an easy solution to 3D printing, there are several options: Solidoodle, 3D Systems and MakerBot all feature cost-effective 3D printers.

Solidoodle’s 4th generation 3D printer is priced at $999 while the previous generation costs $799. MakerBot’s Replicator is priced at $2,899 but the company introduced a compact 3D printer, the Replicator Mini, at CES 2014. The Replicator Mini will go on sale in Spring 2014 and will cost $1,375. Cube is currently priced at $1,299 but the company recently announced the Cube 3, available in the second quarter of 2014, which will be priced under $1,000.

The da Vinci 3D printer will start getting shipped in mid-March and preorders are currently being accepted at XYZprinting Inc.’s website. The da Vinci will also be available at Amazon and other retailers in March.

CES 2014 also featured other companies introducing some versatile 3D printers. ChefJet 3D printer and the ChefJet 3D Pro printer, manufactured by 3D Systems Inc., will be the first commercial 3D food printers, the Associated Press reports. According to 3D Systems, the ChefJet 3D printer will create single color edibles while the ChefJet Pro will print edibles in full color. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, mint, cherry, sour apple and watermelon. The ChefJet 3D printer will be available in the second half of 2014 and will cost under $5,000 while the ChefJet Pro will be priced below $10,000.

As noted by the AP, 3D printers in a commercial setting could be a boon for independent designers and small businesses. The ability to customize, create unique products or print intricate designs could lead to new business opportunities and potential customers.