We could soon see the arrival of a potentially powerful desktop 3D printer that doesn’t cost a lot, if CARP 3D is able to their new machine.
“CARP” stands for “Cheap And Reliable Printer”, something that we and many others would certainly appreciate. However, there’s been many challenges facing 3D printer manufacturers attempting this feat.
As CARP3D themselves point out:
Most 3D printers are either an overkill, with oversized timing belts, large motors, heavy extruder assembly, bulky and expensive linear technology, and overly complex solutions, OR go for the cheapest in everything, so they use the cheapest steppers, cheap electronics, no linear guides, etc. In our opinion none of the above are a good solution. The first option increases the price of the 3D printer, while the second compromises the printers build quality, or printing speed.
So they’ve attempted to design a very inexpensive machine that focuses the money on the components that truly count towards reliability and performance. For example, they’ve decided to use custom circuit boards instead of Arduino processors, which reduce costs and, they say, increase reliability. They’re also using powerful but “cost effective” stepper motors.
One of the most interesting design features of the CARP 3D machine is the small number of components. They say their machine involves less than 30 parts, including all bolts, nuts and washers! This is a far cry from our first 3D printer in 2009, which arrived with literally hundreds of parts and took many, many hours to build.
While the build volume of the CARP 3D is standard at 150 x 140 x 150mm, the print speed is not: the company claims a maximum print speed of 150mm/second, which is quite a bit faster than the 40-60mm/second typically seen on inexpensive machines.
They’re also planning an option for automatic bed leveling.
You’re no doubt wondering what the price of this machine might be. It’s not yet on sale, or even pre-order, but the company says they will be a “maximum” of USD$250 per printer.
That is indeed an inexpensive price, mostly matching offerings from XYZprinting who recently introduced a low cost 3D printer in that range.
One concern we have is the viability of the company in this case. For that low a price, you can bet they will not be making much margin per machine. Thus, in order to survive, they likely have to obtain orders for literally thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of machines. But that itself poses another challenge: how to produce thousands of machines? We’re hoping they have spent some time lining up their supply chain and manufacturers to ensure they could do so successfully.
But for now, all you can do is get on their mailing list and await their launch.
Via CARP 3D