HP’s new industrial 3D printer is focused on prototyping and small-run production

With a still unannounced price and a footprint the size of a washing machine (as The BBC handily points out), the Jet Fusion 3D 4200 is big and (most likely) expensive. But HP is also positioning the big ole industrial machine as an entry into a new paradigm for 3D printing, calling it, “the world’s first production-ready 3D printing system.”

Other giants in the space like Stratasys and 3D Systems might take some issue with that qualification, but HP’s new line represents a compelling proposition for companies looking to employ additive manufacturing machines for more than just behind-the-scenes prototyping.

The keys to developing such a system are accuracy, speed and pricing. According to HP, “The platform can address more than 340 million voxels [an IRL 3D pixel, more or less] per second, enabling precision at much faster build speeds.”

Of course, the caveat “short-run” needs to be added here. The 4200 won’t likely be entering the mass production business soon, but HP does view Jet Fusion as the beginning of a shift in 3D printing’s role in the production process.

The printer is due out later this year. It will be joined by the entry-level 3200, which will ship in 2017, with a starting price of $130,000.