3D printing allows you to create a three dimensional object from a two dimensional plan by laying down multiple layers of material to build the object. Sometimes known by the snappy name of Stereolithography, the first 3D printer was produced by 3D systems in 1984. It’s become a valuable tool for design and development with industry being able to rapidly develop prototypes of ideas and test them before going to full development. Recently the technology came to the forefront in people’s minds when Defense Distributed tested and published its design for a 3D printed gun. Regardless of the ethics of this particular piece of design, 3D printing has a huge number of applications ranging from processor manufacture through to medical implants.
So what does this have to do with you and me? In recent years the cost of 3D printers has fallen significantly, you no longer need to be a large company to afford the technology. You can buy the UP! 3D printer on Amazon for just over £1000. However, this still puts it in a price range acceptable to only the most dedicated consumer 3D hobbyist. Where the folks over at Pirate 3D have scored big with the Buccaneer is that it will have a price tag under £300 in the UK. This puts it firmly in the hands of the interested enthusiast.
This technology is inspiring allowing you to run riot with your imagination building all sorts of fantastic creations. However, Pirate 3D’s innovation hasn’t stopped at the cost, the Buccaneer looks great having an almost Apple’esque elegant compact design. Loading of the substrate for building your models is easy, a circular cartridge that fits in the top and feeds through a small hole at the top of the device. Perhaps the smartest innovation though is the software; by creating a design suite that is easy to use and requires no knowledge of complicated computer aided design (CAD) systems, a complete novice can create great looking objects. The design suite will work on either your PC or tablet.
It seems that I’m not the only one excited by this technology, Pirate 3D’s Kickstarter campaign to fund development and commercialization of the Buccaneer 3D Printer has reached just over $850,000 raised of a $100,000 target. For anyone that enjoys tinkering the Buccaneer 3D printer is a valuable addition to the toybox!