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Professional Engineering grade PLA PRinters?

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    Professional Engineering grade PLA PRinters?

    Hello everyone. New to the forum, so please be kind in correcting any errors!

    Anyway, I am looking for a printer for rapid prototyping in an engineering setting. I work for the US Air Force as a civilian engineer, designing various equipment to make the troops job easier. We already have a 3D printer here (Dimension SST 1200ES by Stratasys), but we have a few issues with it. Another office in the Air Force offered to purchase a new one for us, so now we are looking for a good printer to take them up on their generous offer.

    The main issues we had with the 1200es were with the ABS material. ABS requires much higher temperatures and heated beds, meaning most ABS printers have to be enclosed which leads to smaller print spaces. This also means it takes more time warming up and can be temperamental in non-ideal conditions. Its also fairly annoying to give a surface finish to ABS and is sometimes difficult to work with. However, by far the biggest reason we want to switch printers is the cost of filaments. The 1200es only takes proprietary cartridges of ABS plastic that you can only get from Stratasys for almost $250 for a roll of 56 cubic inches (920cc). The goal of moving to a PLA printer is to streamline the process of printing from what we currently have and make it more cost effective, as PLA is easier to print with, easier to work with, and is available in generic rolls from many suppliers.

    So to simplify the criteria I'm looking for down to bullet points:
    -Professional / Engineering Grade PLA printer for rapid prototyping
    -Compatible with most generic PLA filaments
    -Preferably a larger print area than what we have now (10x10x12 inches or 254x254x305 mm)
    -Preferably comes with good software
    -Because this is on someone else's dime we have a lot of leeway with budget. Anywhere from $2k to $10k and possibly more if it can be justified.

    Please give me your recommendations!

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