Printrbot’s Nice Price and Simple Assembly May Fulfill the Promise of a 3d-Printer in Every Home
Your first 3D printer
Although it’s a very recent entrant to the DIY 3D-printer market, the RepRap-based Printrbot has already caused something of a stir with its rock bottom price tag and super simple assembly. Printrbot HQ—so named by creator Brook Drumm—is located in Lincoln, Calif., just outside Fresno, and Drumm—a self-styled entrepreneur—operates the company with one rather lofty purpose in mind: “A 3d-printer in every home.” Having succeeded in simplifying the Printrbot to where a child could put it together, Drumm intends to focus on driving down cost to the "absolute lowest sustainable retail price."
This 3D printer comes in three models: the basic Printrbot, Printrbot LC and Printrbot PLUS kits. Both the basic and LC versions cost $550 and boast a 6”x6”x6” build area (that’s 216 cubic inches). The former is constructed from plastic parts replicated by other Printrbots (the core ideal of RepRap), while the LC’s frame is made of lasercut birch wood. At $699, the Printrbot PLUS more than doubles their volumes with its capacious 8”x8”x8” (512 cubic inches) build area. All Printrbot models come with a pound of ABS plastic and are compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. Assembly takes only a couple of hours with no soldering required. The Printrbot connects easily to your computer with a USB cable, or you can upload files via MicroSD. Currently, the company is so new that shipping is available only in the U.S., though they’re working on that. Expect to receive your Printrbot within six weeks upon placing the order.
A Brief History
Following a nighttime epiphany in which he first conceptualized the Printrbot, Drumm embarked on a campaign to raise capital on crowd-funding website Kickstarter. By December 2011 he had managed to drum up some $830,827 from over 1,800 backers. Then, in early March 2012, Printrbot opened its virtual doors for business. Later that same month, Drumm clinched a first-round win (and $2,500 in funding) in the Mercedes Fueling Innovation contest, sponsored by Wired.com and Mercedes-Benz.
Why Should You Go With Printrbot?
The Printrbot’s 3D printing resolution is pretty decent for a machine that’s so simple a kid could put it together. The price is already unbeatable and, assuming Drumm can make good on his promise, it will only get better. Creator Brook Drumm cuts a likeable public profile, and he’s managed to amass quite a following. For someone who claims that he “just likes to figure stuff out and keep busy,” his dream of a printer in every home is just optimistic enough that it’s hard not to root for the guy.
What Else Is Out There?
The Printrbot is only the latest example of a growing number of DIY printers on the 3D printing market today. If you want to learn more about other 3d-printer companies, feel free to check out our 3d-printer comparison.