We’re pretty excited about New Matter, a company launching a crazy-affordable 3D printer called the MOD-t via this Indiegogo campaign that kicked off today. In the short time since the campaign’s been live, it’s garnered a whopping $US100,000 of its $US375,000 goal.
The first thing that merits your attention is the cost of the device itself. The regular retail price for this thing is $US249, but if you want to get on board early, there are a limited number of units available at $US149 and $US199.
Compare this to the price of devices by 3D printing hardware company MakerBot, which could easily be considered “the Apple of 3D printing.” They start at $US1,375 for its Replicator Mini. The Replicator Z18, MakerBot’s top of the line model, is $US6,500.
So how on earth is the price for the MOD-t so low? We spoke to New Matter co-founder, president, and CTO Steve Schell to find out more.
“In order to create the low-cost hardware, we invented a new mechanism that drives two of the three axes of the machine,” he told Business Insider. “Pinion rods drive the build plate, and this unique mechanism has cost advantage because it makes for fewer overall parts. We’ve designed this for high-volume manufacturing and prepared to invest in tooling and injection moulding to drive cost down.”
In simpler terms, the New Matter team has boiled down a 3D printer so that it operates just as effectively with many fewer parts, and having fewer parts reduces production cost like crazy. But can a 3D printer really be effective at this cost?
Again, here’s Schell:
“In terms of the key specs that matter, we’re matching state of the art and print speed,” he said. “We’re not trying to compete on performance, but we are generally matching the specs of other printers at a much lower price. There will be a number of users who graduate into a higher-end printer.”
So the MOD-t’s biggest selling point is that it’s a 3-D printer for people intrigued by the technology but aren’t willing to drop a four-digit sum for it. If and when their experience with the MOD-t should whet an appetite for more advanced 3-D printing capabilities, consumers can then spring for something pricier and more advanced.
The low-cost hardware is only one aspect of the company, however. There’s an expansive app-based experience too, connecting designers and MOD-t owners, making it a snap to print out objects from a curated selection of 3-D models. The obvious comparison here will be to MakerBot’s own Thingiverse, a repository where creators share their 3-D files for others to modify and print at home, but Schell isn’t a big fan of Thingiverse’s implementation.
“There are a large number of mediocre parts on Thingiverse,” he said. “There are a few gems as well, of course, but it’s difficult to find them because they’re lost in a sea of mediocrity. By curating our collection, we hope to provide quality downloads.”
If you like the sound of all this, check out the Indiegogo campaign right here.
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