Although growing in popularity and becoming more readily available (you can even buy a 3D printer at Office Depot now), there are still some barriers that stop people from getting into 3D printing at home. For many, the price tag of these printers is simply outside of what they can afford.
This was true for New York college student Shai Schecter, who found the costs for materials for the school’s 3D printer to be prohibitive. He told reporters that “we have a laser and powder-based 3D printer at school, but it costs about $500 for a bucket of the powder and that only lasts for about one or two prints. It’s never used because it is so expensive and classes weren’t offered that much in the curriculum.” So he did what any entrepreneurial college student would do, he built his own 3D printer.
Along with the help of three friends, Schecter launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring a low-cost plastic extrusion-based 3D printer to the masses. Dubbed the Deltraprintr, this inexpensive 3D printer will come in at just $475 unassembled or $685 assembled, about a fourth of the cost of the next cheapest 3D printer. Demand for a low-end option is so high that this two foot high printer completely sold out in preorders in the first week.
Schecter says they see this as more than just a printer, but also as a learning tool. He points out that with many 3D printers, although you can print things, you don’t have to know how the printer really works. That is why his printer has an optional assembly manual to allow users to really get into how the printer actually works.
These guys have big plans and it will be interesting to see what a true low-cost 3D printer will do to open up the market to a wider audience.