3D printing on a budget

3d-printingI really like the idea of 3D printing (and have used Shapeways and i.materialise in the past), especially for my prop replica projects as it gives me the ability to rapidly construct a clean master copy with clay or sculpting with epoxy.

Anyhow, I’ve been watching machines along the way and waiting for pricing to drop to affordable levels (well, affordable for me anyway), and have seen quite a few models now that make home 3D printing a reality. Having said that, beyond (possibly) backing the MOD-t, I haven’t yet put my money where my mouth is, so my opinions have no basis in reality. Pretty much like most other tech blogs then.  Avante!

If you’ve not seen it, the MOD-t (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/new-matter-mod-t-a-3d-printer-for-everyone) is perhaps the most exciting. A 3D printer (which appears to have decent specs and print size) for under $299. Well under in fact, as first round early-birders could have nabbed one for $199 – astonishing value if it does what they claim.

Of course, the good old Makerbot is there as well, with an exceptionally polished offering, however the cheapest and smallest model on offer is $1,375. Still, cheap for a 3D printer, but expensive compared to the MOD-t.

Maplin in the UK are offering  the Velleman K8200 for £499 now, however it is in kit form, so patience is required to get it up and running. I generally think the kind of people who’ll buy a 3D printer are more than capable of putting a kit together, so it could be a solid and affordable choice for UK peeps.

For the mega cheap, there is also the mega-tiny Peachy Printer for $100.  This little box of tricks isn’t going to be printing anything large format, however it’s so tiny and cute, it’s almost worth buying for a party piece. That’s if you go to those kind of parties where the main attraction is someone with a 3D printer that takes several hours to make a chess piece.

Anyway, if anyone else has any good recommendations or ideas on how to get a replicator into every home, I’d love to know!

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