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$350 3D printer may come to your desk sooner than you think


Since its premiere, 3D printers have been make huge progress in a variety of industries, from printing tiny plastic models to prosthetic jaws for medical reconstructive surgeries. Culinary institutions have even tried to 3D print food like cake icing and ramen noodles. But the reason 3D printers have only been in experimentation is because most machines cost upward of $1000. MakiBox wants to change that by affording you the opportunity to own a portable 3D printer for as low as $350.

The MakiBox is currently hosted on Makible, a site similar to Kickstarter but aimed specifically toward craft makers who need funding for their projects. The MakiBox is self-contained and compact, and is designed to let students, engineers and industrial designers experiment with 3D printing on their own budget. Without all the different parts visible and tossed around while the machine is 3D printing, the MakiBox is easier to use at home so you won’t have to worry about things catching into the machine as it prints. Though you may have to assemble the printer yourself, the pieces only require little screws and bolts to reduce the number of parts. The design also allows the MakiBox to work under all seasonal conditions, while traditional 3D printers require room temperature environment.

The MakiBox wants to provide a wide opportunity of printable items, such as phone cases, missing board game pieces, and camera accessories. You can even turn a 2D photograph into a 3D sculpture. Could you imagine that picture you took when you visited the Grand Canyon restructured into a 3D model? Hoping users will access RepRap, an open source system of 3D printing blueprints, the possibilities are endless especially since we anticipate more models to be continuously added to the catalogue.

At the lowest level of funding, you can own a MakiBox kit for $350. This price point comes without the plastic supplies required to print models, so you might want to stick with using something liquid, such as melted chocolate to print your own birthday cupcake icing. A $475 funding comes with 10 acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic colors currently used in traditional 3D printing. In comparison, the MakiBox is about a third of the price of a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, which will set you back $1099.

“As we sell more, we will be able to look at even better prices down the road,” said Jon Buford, an entrepreneur based in Hong Kong who jumpstarted the MakiBox project. 

The project is fully funded and you will have until the end of today to get in on the action. The MakiBox product page pledges that you will receive your item in roughly one month, and if you miss out on the deadline you may be able to order more in the future as the product undergoes the second stage of funding.