3 Fully Assembled 3D Printers for $100 or Less
3D Printers for the average consumer keep dropping in price. A recent article by ALL3DP offers up 20 3D printers you can own for under $1,000 with 7 of these printers offered for $500 or less. None of these printers on offer are DIY either. All of these 20 printers are said to come fully assembled. Plug. And. Play. At these price points, everyone with even a remote interest in 3D printing should be ponying up some cash so they can begin printing all kinds of cool stuff.
The constant drop in the price of 3D printers begs the question; just how low can I go if I want to tool around with the most basic of 3D printers that I don’t have to assemble? What about a price point of $100 USD? We’re not talking about DIY jobs like this 3D printer built from old CD-ROM drives and a 3D printing pen from Amazon, we’re talking about 3D printers that come fully assembled for $100 or less. We were able to find three (if you know of others drop us a comment below).
Now the first thing to note which may be rather obvious at this point is that all 3 of these printers are being offered as crowdfunding campaigns. We’ve warned our readers before about the dangers of crowdfunding. Nothing says that a fresh young mind with a great idea can deliver on his or her imaginative innovation. We’ve seen many a crowdfunded 3DP venture crash and burn when trying to deliver on a plan they didn’t think through well enough because there wasn’t an experienced VC there to vet their business model. With that said, let’s take a look at our first startup offering a 3D printer for $100, “The Peachy Printer”.
The “Peachy” was being touted as the “world’s most affordable” 3D printer and raised over $500,000 on Kickstarter. Read that again. It raised over $500,000 USD from retail consumers who committed $100 USD each for this exciting new printer. Now instead of digging into the functionality of this exciting printer, instead let’s take a look at the first FAQ listed under their latest update made just last month:
So the founder of this venture loaned a great deal of money he received from Kickstarter to his mate Dave and Dave’s not paying him back? And he called the police? At this point we’re going to speculate that this product is never coming to market. Ever. In fact, we’re starting to think there probably is no “Dave”.
While the “Peachy Printer” is waiting on Dave’s ability to payback his loan, there’s another controversial crowdfunded 3D printer that uses your smartphone as a technology boost that allows for a fully functional 3D printer at a $100 price point. It’s called OLO.
Dubbed “the simplest 3D printer on the planet”, Olo uses your smartphone as a light source to cure a pool of resin into 3D shapes. The idea was so compelling that Olo saw the most preordered 3D printers in crowdfunding history and raised a total of $2,321,811. Their last update was just over a month ago when they stated that they have “moved into production mode”. They plan to begin delivering these printers by September 2016. While the backers are growing antsy and skepticism abounds, we could just think of one question. Can the light source from a smart phone replace that of a DLP projector?
The answer to that question has to be yes otherwise the whole idea falls flat on its face. In doing some research we came across someone who created a DLP 3D printer using a concept similar to the one below:
So this idea of turning a projector upside down and using it to 3D print was so successful that the guy went on to found his own company called Atum3D which builds DLP 3D printers that use the same concept. The question was actually raised in the comments of the above design as to why they couldn’t just use a smartphone. The answer seems to be that in order to cure the resin you need UV light that only projectors can produce. OLO is claiming they have developed a proprietary “daylight resin” which we assume eliminates the need for the type of UV light that projectors produce. Let’s hope for the sake of those 16,000+ backers that they’ve actually done that already. If they make this happen, you can pick one up for $129 MSRP.
Moving on to our third and last 3D printer priced at $100 or less, let’s take a closer look at the 101Hero:
It’s a $49 3D printer everyone, so if it does anything at that price point we’d be pretty much blown away. If you’re interested, it’s actually a live Kickstarter project with just 9 days left.
Now the main problem we have with 101Hero is that they tell us nothing about the people behind the project or where they are located. They also triggered our BS alarm in a big way when in their last update they just randomly listed some “Kickstart projects they love”. Given the broken English we observed coming from the comments section of the campaign in response to questions about their printer, we did a simple WhoIs on the domain name www.101hero.com. What we found is that the website is registered to a Beijing address with no name even given for a contact. Just how comfortable do you feel with giving people you don’t know your money in exchange for the promise of a $49 3D printer to begin shipping in October of 2016? Incredibly, these anonymous Chinese guys (???) have already raised $293,042. If you feel compelled to have a punt, here’s a link to their Kickstarter.
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