It appears that 3D printing is ready for to hit the mainstream market.
At least that's the goal of the Pirate3D Buccaneer, a Kickstarter campaign-fueled 3D printer which promises to make 3D printing at home both affordable and a breeze.
The Buccaneer's makers took a few common complaints about 3D printers into consideration when designing it. The first, and most notable, is that the system comes pre-manufactured, essentially letting users get to printing as soon as they have their hands on the device. The printer also prints objects out at speedy 50mm of plastic per second.
But not everyone is convinced that reliable 3D printing is ready for the home space. As TechCrunch's John Biggs notes, affordable 3D printers tend to translate to cheap devices.
"Given that a good extruder is somewhere in the $50 to $75 range, there can't be much going on in the brains of this machine and they're going to have to cut corners somewhere," Biggs writes. "I obviously hope that this thing works as advertised - given that you can now sell a home games console for $99 it seems feasible that they can get 3D printer prices down as well - but, as in everything, you get what you pay for."
Most lower-end 3D printers start selling for around $1,000, though. But even at that price, users still have to construct and fine-tune the printer before any serious manufacturing can take place.
Pirate3D Buccaneer prints at a 100-micron resolution - meaning the printer's output will likely have some jagged edges - use 1.75mm PLA plastics and will have a nozzle diameter of 0.4mm. Uses a bio-degradable plastic, allowing users to create plates, bowls, and eating utensils. The Buccaneer can communicate over Wi-Fi and can begin printing from mobile devices, though the 3D printer can also operate offline as well.
The 3D printing system also features a Smart Object system, which aims to familiarize home users with computer-aided design files by hosting simple designs which can be modified online before printing an object.
The Pirate3D Buccaneer system, as a whole, sells for $397 a pop, and is currently available on Kickstarter.