The number of 3D printers on the market seems to have risen exponentially over the past couple years. Therefore, many printers already have dedicated communities and loyal customers. How then would someone make his or her own 3D printer that can compete in the existing market? TJIKO Labs believes it has created a unique printer, which can bring some advantages to the market.
The Snap 3D printer is a fully functional 3D printer that can be built by snapping together the structure and electronics. The advantage it brings with it is that users will be able to fully assemble their 3D printers without having any technical knowledge. Additionally, since the printer does not use any fasteners, disassembling and assembling the printer is quick and easy, along with swapping out parts such as the Extruder. The durable frame is made from a high-density polythylene (HDPE) plastic, which will be available in different colors. The frame will also house the electronics, which will sit beneath the heated bed.
A white version of the Snap3D printer. (Source: www.tjiko.com/)
While the Snap 3D printer is assembled unlike any other printer, it has features similar to other 3D printers, which will make it competitive on the market. The printer features a build volume of 8 inch x 8 inch x 8 inch with a 100-micron layer resolution. It will use 3 mm ABS, PLA, or Nylon filament. It will also feature a Viki LCD for a control panel interface, a Helios heated bed, a J head nozzle, and a microSD input. Therefore, the printer will be able to work as a standalone machine not requiring a computer.
Currently its creators have a Kickstarter campaign to promote their product. Backers can help support their goal, which was not met by the deadline, and possibly pre-order a printer for themselves at a discounted price. There are still 37 opportunities left to receive a Snap3D printer special kit with ABS filament for $649. After those go the printers will run for $699. In addition, backers can also get a fully assembled printer with 3ABS filaments for $849.
Although the Kickstarter initiative ended without reaching the goal, the team is certain this printer can still be successful. “We have been working on this for two years, so we'll be rolling on our website and working with customers and distributors who already contacted us or new [customers],” a company representative told Design News, in an email. “We are on Kickstarter to make it affordable, because of manufacturing and components. This is a project to make it cheaper, not design a 3D printer. We have already overcome design and manufacturing, the only issue was we wanted to get it in the hands of people who can afford it.”
Most printers on the market cost thousands of dollars. For example, the MakerBot Replicator 2 runs for $2,199.00, a CubeX single head printer will cost about $2,499.00, and a Cubify Cube 3D printer will cost $1,299.00. While there are printers that exist that are cheaper than a thousand dollars, many begin to lose their print resolution, print volume, and reliability as prices drop. As a result, the Snap3D printer might make a perfect solution to those searching for a 3D printer.
So now we are offered a 3D printer for use by those with no technical knowledge? It seems that the pandering to those who choose to not learn anything about the tools they use has reached a new level. While simplifying assembly may be a good idea if it does not reduce reliability, why in the world should these tools be provided to those who are not willing to learn? Of course the profit motive is a main driver in this direction, and there are probably quite a few hobby users who do have technical understanding and just need a lower priced package to produce thier designs. That may be a better aspect to emphasise than the part about not needing any technical knowledge to assemble the system.
Charles I agree. I have gotten some sample parts from other makers, they are impressive. If this is as good as I have seen then great. If not, then probably just for the home user that wants to make toys or parts without tolerances. As Nadine pointed out, it probably isn't for production, just general use. For the price though I wouldn't expect much more. Plus I think it looks pretty cool!
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