How close are we to affordable 3D printers at home?

Since they first came to the public eye 3D printers have really caught people’s imagination.  The thought of being able to produce a 3D item instead of the usual 2D fare is intriguing.  And we are not as far away from being able to afford a 3D printer at home as you might think.

3D printer
3D printer

How the M3D Micro Printer is Kickstarting in 3D

One of the best examples of affordability in the area of 3D printing is this tiny but incredible piece of kit.  It burst onto the scene in May 2014 when it surpassed expectations by achieving Kickstarter funding of $3,401,361 against a target of $50,000.  The 11,855 backers will benefit from decreased purchase costs of $199 for early backers and $299 for other backers against the full purchase price of $349.

M3D are now taking advance order for the product on their website with an estimated delivery date of 2015.  

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A Great Thing in a Small Package

This device may be small but that does not make it any less dynamic; a cube shape, its sides are each only 7” in length.  It produces good quality 3D printing results via a very simple to use plug and play system.  One thing that it’s important to know is that it can only reproduce items up to 4.6”, so if you’re looking to print a playmate for your dog you are going to be out of luck.  The fact remains that it is an affordable way of experiencing the creative curiosity that is 3D printing.

Make what you want!
Make what you want!

Remember Kits are Just the Plastic Parts

You can buy 3D printer kits from suppliers such as Master Geeks; the RepRap Mini Kossell retails for approximately $69.95.  These kits only include the plastic pieces that you need to construct the printer itself, you still have to incur the cost of associated hardware and electronics.

The Best Affordable Current 3D Printing Devices on the Market

One of the best fully working 3D printers for affordability that is currently available is the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer which retails for approximately $530; this is just about an affordable option for home use.  The diminutive printer, it has 7.3” sides, can be used straight out of the box and is easy to use whether you have any experience printing in 3D or not.  Even people who are technologically challenged can just plug it in and produce some effective 3D models straight away.

3d Printer in action
3d Printer in action

So the answer as to how close we are to being able to afford to print in 3D at home is that we are already there to an extent.  The technology that once seemed the stuff of science fiction movies is at our finger tips.  It’s still not a particularly cheap way to spend your time; a few hundred dollars is affordable but perhaps not comfortably so for a lot of people.  As with any advances in technology, the more examples that come onto the market, the cheaper the products will become.  Look at how much a flat screen TV used to cost and then consider whether it may be worth waiting a while to invest in your first 3D printer.


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