A new Kickstarter project, the Micro 3D printer, has already raised more than $500,000 and unlike other printers, it may be the first consumer-friendly device for people interested in the industry. The Micro’s creators originally set out to raise just $50,000 but less than a day later, they had far exceeding their goal. The Kickstarter project ends on May 7.
The 3D printer industry is continuing to grow yet the equipment is usually too expensive or too complex for the average consumer. M3D, the company behind the project, hopes that its $200 3D printer will allow regular people to enter the field and start printing their own objects.
Low Cost, Easy To Use
Most 3D printers, such as those from MakerBot, are usually sold for at least $1,000, making them unaffordable for most consumers. Since the steep price tag associated with the activity has prevented people from jumping on the 3D-printing bandwagon, M3D has focused on lowering the barrier to entry.
Even though price is one of the most important components of any new device, consumers have been scared away from 3D printers because of the complexity of some of the hardware and software. M3D feels that it has also addressed these concerns by making the Micro as easy to use as possible.
A spokesperson for M3D told us that the Micro will hopefully encompass exactly what the average consumer needs from a 3D printer. However, just because the device is relatively inexpensive, M3D doesn’t feel that the printer will be limited in its use.
“First, and perhaps most importantly, we've designed the Micro for *the whole user experience* which includes everything from the unboxing of the product, to the ease of use of the printer, to the ease of use of to the software,” according to the M3D spokesperson. “In our case we believe that the Micro is the best poised 3D printer for the everyday consumer, gadget lover, engineer, gift-giver, crafty user, etc.”
An Important Industry
While M3D may be creating its printer with the goal of attracting consumers, there are also applications for business use. Outside of the individuals who use 3D printers for art-related projects, there is an entire market based around the use of printers for medical and scientific projects.
Since they are capable of accepting a wide-range of materials, some 3D printers are already being used with human cells. Rather than plastic, which is great for small projects, human cells can be used with the 3D printers in order to build highly customized organs. Although this frontier is just beginning to break open, scientists and doctors have already shown that 3D printing could eventually save lives.
At the same time as scientists are creating organs, others are sharing build plans for items like guns. Last year, it was revealed that 3D printing technology could also be used for weapons, allowing almost anyone to create a semi-functional gun. Just as with any new technology, there are many uses for 3D printing but now that M3D and others are working to bring consumers into the mix, the industry is bound to grow in the coming years.