Slowly but surely, 3D printers are getting cheaper. Drastically cheaper, in fact. In the early days it wasn’t uncommon for even the most basic printer to carry a price tag upwards of $3,000, but in just a few years time, the average price has plummeted. Nowadays there are dozens of printers you can get for under 500 bucks, and some are even cheaper than that.
Tiko is the latest addition to this sub-$500 club. Priced at just $179 on Kickstarter, it’s easily one of the most affordable printers we’ve ever laid eyes on.
The key to its ridiculously low price is Tiko’s simple construction. Like many of the more affordable printers that have surfaced in the past couple years, Tiko is a delta-style 3D printer, meaning it uses three vertically moving parallel motors to change the position of the filament extruder. This configuration allows the machine to make accurate prints without any high-precision rails, linear bearings, or other crazy-expensive CNC components you’d find in cartesian-style printers.
Don’t let the low price tag and lack of precision parts fool you though — based on the specs listed on the Kickstarter page, it looks like Tiko would make a worthy competitor to a few printers that are 20 times as expensive. It sports a print resolution that goes down to 50 microns, as well as a maximum print volume that dwarfs that of most other printers this size (138 cubic inches). As if that wasn’t awesome enough, it’s also got a passively cooled extruder tip (which is unheard of), and a flexible build plate that requires no energy or special adhesives to function properly.
No matter how you look at it, this is a beast of a machine — so it should come as no surprise that it’s already blasted past its $100,000 funding goal. The campaign surpassed its original target just three hours after going live, and it’s currently sitting pretty at over $250,000 with a month left to go.