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A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream 143

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Can 3D printing go truly mainstream? Startup M3D is betting on it, having launched a Kickstarter campaign to create what it terms the first truly consumer 3D printer, built around proprietary auto-leveling and auto-calibration technology that (it claims) will allow the device to run in an efficient, easy-to-use way for quite some time. According to The Verge, the device is space-efficient, quiet, and sips power: 'One of the main obstacles between 3D printers and consumers has been clunky, unintuitive software. Here too, M3D promises improvements, having designed an app that's 'as interactive and enjoyable as a game' with a minimalist and touch-friendly interface.' Do you think 3D printing can capture a massive audience, or will it remain niche for the foreseeable future?"
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A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream

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  • Re:No. (Score:4, Informative)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:02PM (#46687731)

    A 3D printer for under 500$USD is nothing new.

    The Printrbot Simple Kit [] has available for months, for 349$USD.

    Still too expensive? For 200$USD, you can get a Makibox A6 LT [].

    Want to go even lower? You can get a Peachy Printer [] for only 100$CAD.

  • Let's see (Score:5, Informative)

    by janoc ( 699997 ) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:14PM (#46687851)

    This topic has been re-hashed here before several times (e.g. here [])

    Let's see what is actually innovative or different on this printer when compared to the existing ones:

    - automatic leveling - ok, but they seem to use a sensor ("motion sensor chip"?!) in the printer head (?!) and not moving bed. I am not really sure how this could actually work ...
    - non-heated bed - they claim it is not needed because of autoleveling, but that is BS. You need heated bed for ABS to stick to it, level or not level, otherwise the moving head will lift the print or it will warp. Nothing to do with the bed being level.
    - tiny working volume
    - autocalibration - again some magical "motion sensor chip" is mentioned, without any explanation what that autocalibration is nor how it works ...
    - they are keen on the artistic look of the thing, but I have serious reservations about the rigidity and accuracy of the device - the claimed 15um is only the theoretical resolution of the steppers, not actual resolution of the printer (depends on the nozzle size which is 0.45mm by default!). The ABS body doesn't instill much confidence!
    - reduced power consumption is somehow supposed to make things lighter and cheaper (?!) - that argument seems backwards to me ...
    - startup, they don't have any other products - who knows when they will actually be able to deliver. The August date is completely unrealistic.
    - their team doesn't instill much confidence - 1 electronics guy, 1 CNC guy, 4 CAD people, 2 sw people, but they have 8 artists, 2 PR agencies and 4 lawyers! Not a healthy balance, IMO ...

    - incredibly cheap price ($300), but you get what you pay for IMO
    - they have exceeded their funding target 10x already ...

    Honestly, I don't see how this printer will make 3D printing somehow accessible to the unwashed masses - there are still all those issues of CAD, mechanical design, toy-like device with nebulous claims and nothing to back it up.

Information is the inverse of entropy.