Who wants a 3D printer for USD$300? More than 9,000 people, that’s who.
Micro, a 3D printer, hit its Kickstarter goal of USD$50,000 in a blinding 11 minutes. Within a day, it had passed the USD$1 million mark which it originally set out to achieve. At time of writing, the sleek, 18.5cm cube had hit more than USD$2.5 million in funding. It’s also doing much better than a fellow Kickstarter campaign, Foodini, an equally slick food printer.
Talk about making it rain.
For those unfamiliar with 3D printer, also known as “additive manufacturing” or “stereo lithography,” 3D printing turns computer models into real physical things. You can print any objects you want.
Billing itself as “the first truly consumer 3D printer”, Micro is surprisingly light, weighing just 1kg. The twee little cube comes with a USB-compatible connection, and runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac. It also supports a number of different materials – “ABS, PLA, Nylon and more”, and can print objects up to 11.6cm tall.
While this means that we’re far from being able to print a kayak for ourselves, Micro’s plug-and-play capability is user-friendly, even offering the option of auto-calibration. Micro even comes with a library of existing models you can download and print.
The tiny printer, brainchild of a Bethesda, Md. company called M3D, holds the most appeal in its even tinier price tag: USD$299, and it’s yours. To compare, a Foodini will set you back about USD$1,200, while popular 3D printing model MakerBot Replicator Mini will run you about USD$1,375.
Micro’s success seems to show what consumers want: a 3D printer at an affordable price. An emerging technology like 3D printing will need time to grow and requires a community of support, something which Micro proves it already has. The more printers we can put in peoples’ houses, the closer we are to bringing the future of 3D printing to us.
Earlier last year, Singapore had its very own success story with 3D printer to: Buccaneer by Pirate3D. Launched mid last year on Kickstarter, the campaign was a huge success as well. Originally targeting at raising $100,000 through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, Buccaneer exploded in popularity and ended up raising over $1.4 million for its mass market 3D printer.
Similar to the Micro 3D printer, The Buccaneer promises an easy-to-use printing experience for $247 (to its early bird backers). Then, it ran into a bit of controversy over some of its specifications after achieving its stretch goals. The bump in the road that was the lack of ABS support hasn’t stopped the Pirate3D truck from rolling, however. The company has shipped its first batch of printers to its Kickstarter backers and is now making plans for the future.
You can still pledge USD$299 (about SGD$373) to receive your own Micro 3D printer by January 2015. If you’re looking for other affordable 3D printing solutions, keep an eye on LIX, a handheld printing pen that writes and draws in mid-air, which should be starting its own Kickstarter next week or so.
Combine these affordable 3D printing solutions with paint that conducts electricity, and what do you get? World domination, that’s what.
Also read: 3D Food Printing is the next big thing, and it’s already happening