Monday, April 07, 2014

drag2share: The Micro is a $200 3D printer that can make a teacup in an hour


There are more than a couple of reasons why 3D printing hasn't truly hit critical mass, and the team at M3D thinks it's sidestepped them with The Micro, its $200 - $300 3D printer. The Micro is hitting Kickstarter today with the sole intention of becoming the first consumer 3D printer that's at once accessible, affordable and easy on the eyes.

"The dream here is definitely that you take something and install it as fast as the fastest plug-and-play device that you've ever seen and you're focused on the end result," Michael Armani, M3D's CEO tells us. "You take the design, put it in the printer, it prints as quickly as possible. The focus here isn't on the 3D printing process ... [it's] on 'yeah, I want to make a mold for chocolates.' It went to the fun part so you can enjoy it as much as possible."

For example, we asked how long it would take from initial unboxing to having a spot of tea from the cup in the project's pitch video. The only reasons there'll be more than an hour between you and that first cup of Earl Grey are your teakettle and steeping preferences.

But even then, ease-of-use doesn't particularly matter if one of 3D printing's biggest barriers to entry doesn't change: price. Should you miss out on The Micro's limited early-bird $200 backing tier, getting a fully-assembled unit in your home will still only run $300.

"When we looked at 3D printers, we saw that the field was becoming hyped and that everyone was super curious about it," Armani says. "They can't go to Brookstone and try something that's in the price range of a present or a college gift, or something to try out and risk a little money on - they're all $2,000 or more."

The Micro doesn't come off like an Erector set project, it looks like a gadget.