Friday, November 8, 2013

The Perfect 3d Printer for Consumers

An example of a Delta printer.  Image courtesy of "SolidSmack"

Here is my idea of a perfect 3d printer, targeted at consumers:

It would need to be fast, while remaining cheap.  So, i would ditch the traditional Mendel style 3d printer, and go with the far less popular delta style of 3d printer.  The delta is much faster because instead of moving the whole print tray, or the whole extruder in a linear motion, it sort of swings the extruder around to create an object making it much faster.  It should be able to printer at 200 mm/s maximum.  This allows you to create most objects in less than an hour.  

The print area should be at least 6x6x6 inches.  This is where Deltas are slightly flawed.  Instead of being a square like a Mendel, it has a circle build tray.  So to get a square object that is 6x6 like a Tardis, you would actually need about 8x8. This is not to big of a problem though, it just equates to a larger overall footprint. The whole printer would have a foot print of roughly 14 inch diameter, and 30 inches tall(the way the Z axis is designed, it has a lot of wasted space while the X and Y axis are quite efficient.  

It needs dual extruder. Not for colors, but for support material.  One of the biggest drawbacks of most 3d printers is that they can’t make everything.  If I told someone to design something to print on my printer, it would likely be unprintable.  This is because my printer like most other sub $3000 dollar printers, have a single extruder, so if anything has overhang it can’t print it well, or even at all.  Dual extruder let you print anything because you can put water soluble support material in the second extruder. 

It needs to cost $300, that is the most consumers can probably afford.  I believe that each printer could cost as little as $350 to make. This leave the only way to make a profit, is through material sales. I think that material should cost $40 for .75kilos. It only costs around 3 bucks to make it.  Take into account that most people use about .75 kilos a month, there could be a very healthy profit with the first year (around $400).

It needs to be launched by a big company, such as Google.  This is because a large company is needed to launch a project like this and show all of the world what it is capable of through advertising.  It would also be the first printer to be launched by a large company, this would help instill trust, that it can deliver as promised.  The printer also needs wifi, so you can print while not being physically attached to the printer.

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