New Matter has joined the low-cost 3D printer crowd with their inexpensive MOD-t device.
The machine seems to set the mark for inexpensive: early-bird subscribers to their campaign will receive a device for prices as low as USD$149. However, the company tells us they will be selling retail for “under USD$400” when they complete fulfilling initial orders from the crowdfunding campaign.
The machine is elegantly simple in appearance and design. It’s basically an extruder surrounded by a clear acrylic cover. It prints only PLA plastic, as you might expect, as the exceptionally low price really doesn’t permit the addition of a heated print surface. However, the clear enclosure does provide some amount of heat capture from the extruder, which should make even PLA prints a little easier in its 150 x 100 x 125mm build volume.
The exterior design is crisply efficient, starting with the clear cover. This design approach is used throughout the machine, even including the rear where the filament spool feeds the extruder.
The machine is designed for ease of use, with “push button” capability. It includes WiFi as a standard feature, something unexpected on a unit of this price. The machine actually reports its status to New Matter HQ in the cloud, permitting you to have limited operations capability from any web browser. The machine can also connect to their online store, which contains curated 3D designs, to obtain 3D models for printing. However, it’s not necessary to remain connected to the device during printing.
The machine sounds like something you might want to spend USD$400 to try, but we do have a concern about the longevity of this project. There have been several corporate failures in the past where projects priced their equipment too low. The resulting revenue to these companies was insufficient for them to continue and buyers were left stranded.
The key to succeeding in a low unit cost market is simply to sell a great many units. So far they’ve sold 2500 units (most at discounted prices), yielding a revenue of far less than USD$1M, which may or may not be sufficient to continue long term. It remains to be seen whether New Matter can sell a lot more, but judging by the simplicity of the machine and its unique cloud features, we think they have a chance to do so.
Via New Matter