A $35 3D Printer? Not!
This seems impossible, but I saw an advertisement for a US$35 3D printer.
The ad appears on “Innovstylish”, apparently an Asian consumer products web store. The site appears to sell all types of unusual consumer products, including solar chargers, vegetables scissors, anti-chafing thigh bands, a smart helmet (?) or an anti-snoring ring stopper, which sounds perhaps a bit more aggressive than I’d like to try.
And they also sell the “Toybox” desktop 3D printer.
As this is a consumer site, they don’t properly portray the specifications for the machine; consumer targets for this device would likely not understand them. However, by reading between the lines we can gather that this is a PLA-only machine, equipped with a cold print bed. It comes with “240 feet of printer food”, which appears to be a small spool of PLA filament. The specifications for the device are quite sketchy and not in language a typical 3D printer operator would understand.
While the machine is targeted at consumers, and indeed it is “recommended for children 5 and up”, it doesn’t seem to have any features that specifically target newbie users. It’s an open frame machine, exposing the very hot nozzle to touch, but they do explain that:
“The extruder gets hot and when it starts printing, a warning appears on the LCD screen. Parents should also remind children not to reach inside while the machine is operating.”
There are no locking doors, air filters or other safety devices that we’ve seen on other machines targeted at youngsters. As for how to manage the inevitable filament jams, they say only:
“No maintenance required. Just replace the Printer Food when you run out.”
The key feature of the Toybox is the price. The website said the normal price is US$199, but it was marked down to only US$35, perhaps the lowest price this publication has ever seen for any kind of 3D printer. In fact, you can buy spools of 3D print material for far more than this price.
Then, as this story was being processed we noticed a sudden change: the pricing on the site was change from “US$199 marked down to US$35” to “US$299 marked down to US$139”. What’s going on here?
In the comments there is now an ominous post from Zachary O.:
“This is a scam, please do not buy from here. Go to our real store https://shop.make.toys”
And from A.B.:
”Extra printer food at shop.make.toys. oh wait they [Toybox] also say: PLEASE BEWARE: If you have seen or ordered a printer from a company called ‘Innovstylish’, they are a scam and are fraudulently selling Toybox Printers. Please report them to the appropriate channels.”
Evidently the (temporarily) US$35 3D printer was in fact a scam. No doubt money was collected from unsuspecting buyers who never received their US$35 3D printer. The perps behind this scammy venture apparently picked products from a variety of manufacturers and simply made up a sales site to fool buyers. The site or offer would likely disappear after a sufficient amount of cash was obtained.
In fact, the site is already disappearing as I write this: many of the images on the site have disappeared, and a YouTube video used previously is now dead. Definitely a scam.
The moral of the story here is that you get what you pay for: there is no viable US$35 3D printer. A second caution is that anonymous, never-heard-of sites selling equipment should be considered suspicious.
Spend your money on real equipment from real vendors.