For everyone dreaming of the day they can have their own 3D printer at home, it may be coming sooner than expected.
A Kickstarter project for “The Micro,” which claims to be the first commercially viable 3D printer, launched on Tuesday and has already attracted more than $2 million in funding. Micro might have just found the perfect combination of design and affordability to bring 3D printing to the mainstream.
M3D LLC, the Maryland team behind Micro, says it is small, sleek, easy to use and, most important, inexpensive. M3D said it plans to sell its 2.2-pound 3D printer for just $300.
“We knew that in order for [3D printers] to really live up to their potential, that they had to be affordable and completely effortless to use,” said David Jones, the co-founder of M3D.
In addition to a stylish and colorful box, M3D said the Micro software is “as fun and futuristic as the printer itself.” The program comes with a library of models, and users just need to drag it to the printer, adjust and click “print.”
There have been plenty of other consumer-focused 3D printer projects on platforms like Kickstarter, but none have attracted the sort of attention that Micro has. Foodini created some excitement for being able to print food and looking slick, but with an expected retail price of $1,300, the project only attracted $65,000 from funders in two weeks. RoBo 3D said it would retail for around $500, but it looks like it came straight from a major manufacturer, which might explain why it took longer than a year to receive $650,000.
M3D said the funding will help pay for the high-quality parts needed for mass production of the Micro 3D printer. The company plans to begin shipping in fall 2014, meaning that having an affordable, household 3D printer could be a reality in less than a year.