Makibox: the $300 Crowdfunded 3D Printer

We’ve seen sub-$500 nearly-assembled printers recently, but now comes along an inventor who says he will sell you one for $300 (well, plus $50 shipping). It’s not ready yet, but he’s got hundreds of buyers willing to support him already.

The creator’s name is Jon Buford and he’s financing the project on, which he just happens to have cofounded. Will he get enough funding to actually build the Makibox 3D printer? He’s already got it. His project’s funding closed on March 01, 2012 at 271% overfunded, with $107,900 pledged. The good news is that you can still order one for the same price right now.

Here’s how he introduces the Makibox A6 on its funding page:

Hi! Thanks for checking the MakiBox. It’s the first 3D printer designed from the ground up to be simple, completely self-contained, reliable and most important of all, affordable! We’re very excited about this project and we think it’ll be the first 3D printer to break out of the hobbyists’ garages and into the mainstream consumers’ living rooms!

So what’s different about the Makibox?

1. Cost – Makibox is less expensive than other typical hobbyist printers that sell for around $500-1500, with the popular Makerbot offerings coming in between $1300-$2000. Also, it is typical to see a single kilogram of the plastic used for printing sold for $40 or higher, Makibox will sell all standard sizes of ABS filament at $20 per kilogram, plus shipping.

2. Size – Most hobbyist 3D printers are not very desktop-friendly, having a lot of empty space inside, making them simply too large to fit in nicely anywhere but the garage workbench. The MakiBox A6 is tiny, the height and width of a sheet of paper, yet is able to print out something 1/4 the size of the printer itself.

makibox crowdfunding3. Self-contained – The MakiBox is a fully enclosed design, allowing for a consistent heated build space. The motors and electronics are separate from the printing space and cooled by a fan. The printing material fits inside the box, so nothing sticks out, keeping things neat and compact.

4. Quick Assembly – Most of the hobbyist printers on the market come in kit form, and they aren’t always the easiest things to assemble. For example, the RepRap can take someone around 80 hours to assemble. While the Makibox needs assembly, it is more akin to popping together a piece of Ikea furniture (so says Buford). The most difficult parts, such as the extrusion head or the drive shaft coupling, come preassembled.

Buford says he is just getting started with both this model, the Makibox A6, and other devices that will assist people in building things they need. Next on his plate: multi-color printing, plastic recycling, laser cutting and marking, and PCB routing.

Want one? Go to the Makibox page.