It's one very, very large "prosumer" 3D printer, and Bre Pettis, CEO and founder of MakerBot, thinks you'll need one soon.

Recently unveiled during the CES show in Las Vegas, the MakerBot Replicator Z18 boasts a hefty 12" x 12" x 18" build volume, but that kind of size doesn't come cheap.

Priced at $6,499, the Z18 is more likely to be used to create industrial prototypes, models and products than it is to sit looking excellent on your desktop.

Featuring an enclosed and heated build chamber aimed at maintaining the dimensional integrity of objects through the printing process, the Z18 is a sophisticated bit of machinery.

As its name implies, the MakerBot Replicator Z18 can print up to 18 inches on the Z axis, and the full volume capability of this latest offering adds up to a whopping 2,592 cubic inches of printing space.

"This is industrial-strength 3D printing," Pettis said.

A color display and USB/Ethernet/WiFi connectivity, built-in camera and Smart Extruder are also part of the package in this largest of the third-generation Replicator line.

The Replicator Z18 is a great leap forward from the Replicator Mini we wrote about last week.  It has a total build volume nearly 35 times the size of its more modest sibling and it also checks in with a minimum print height of 100 microns.

Thanks to a built-in LCD screen, the Z18 can be used entirely independently from a computer, it can be used to find a variety of files on the company's Thingiverse.com library, and it can take advantage of MakerBot's latest apps and files via a built-in flash drive.

MakerBot says the Replicator Z18 will begin shipping sometime during the spring.