I just bought a Solidoodle 4 http://store.solidoodle.com/index.ph..._id=129http://
. I was planning to go to the Midwest RepRap fest but got snowed out, I could not get out of my drive in time to catch the train. So I decided Id throw the money I would have spent on the trip with what I figured to spend on parts and just buy one.
I like the Solidoodle because it is fully enclosed and the mechanism is very professional looking- timing belts, good size linear rod and bearings, etc. All the electronics are inside the box, and so far I have not even opened it to see whats in there.
My print results are mixed- several attempts have failed to stick to the build plate. I covered it with glass and used hair spray with only mixed luck. The print quality is not bad- I think with some filling or sanding I could actually use one as a pattern for investment casting of model parts- that is my main goal. Im going to try to spray paint a piece with the sandable primer and see how that fills the ribbing.
Last summer I bought the Printrbot Simple for $299 in kit form. That was a grandson project and it worked pretty well. He is 15 and has not done much hand skill work, other than clicking a mouse
He was able to assemble it and get it working. I let him take it home and he continues to print 'stuff' with it. Its main weakness is the axis drive that uses a string and pulleys. Workable and consistent with a $299 device.
I considered the idea of an extruder on a CNC mill, but I dont think it would be fast enough. I haven't figured the speed of the SD4, but it moves a lot faster than my mill will ever go.
There sure are a lot of choices out there.