As I said before, there were many, many 3D printers at this year's Maker Faire in New York. There were a couple less common printing methods, like resin, but mostly they were your typical Mendel derivative filament printers. Ultimaker, a 3D printer company based out of the Netherlands, displayed its latest model, which really pushed the boundaries of quality.
The Ultimaker 2 is roughly $2,500, which puts it in the same price bracket as the Makerbot and similar machines. This newly announced model has several very nice improvements, resulting in some of the best prints I've seen. If you wandered around the table you would have seen that, not only were the prints extremely high quality, they were also extremely consistent.
As many enthusiasts might already be shouting at their screen, almost any 3D printer can be made to print well. With the proper amount of time and money spent tweaking things and upgrading parts, you could expect to eventually get roughly similar quality, even at a lower cost. However, what the Ultimaker 2 promises is that you don't have to be a 3D printer building expert to expect quality. You are guided through the few tweaks you might have to make, such as leveling the bed, during the software setup.
Like Josef Prusa, Ultimaker was also showing off a new hot-end. I asked Erik de Bruijn, a co-founder of Ultimaker, about it and this what he said:
The whole hot-end is completely redesigned. We went from passive to active cooling. It has fins to dissipate as much heat from the input side of the hot-end, while it's a monolithic combination of nozzle and heater block. There's a cartridge heater inserted directly into the nozzle, and also the platinum-based resistive temperature sensor (Pt 100). This is a more accurate type of sensor compared to thermocouples.
The new hot-end wasn't the only improvement, and you can learn more at the Ultimaker website.