Solidoodle: Cheap 3D Printing at Home for Under $500!

Cheap 3D Printing at Home for Under $500!

The possibilities are endless for 3D printing. With your very own 3D printer, you can make spare parts, circuit boards, inflatable balloons, duplicate keys, Minecraft cities, and even tiny replicas of your face. From a more artsy standpoint, you can make complex sculptures, like this cool mathematical sculpture of thirty interwoven hexagons by Francesco De Comite:

Solidoodle: Cheap 3D Printing at Home for Under $500!

But getting your hands on a home 3D printer isn't easy, since the price tag is generally pretty steep, running around the same cost of laptop computer. There are plenty of options to choose from, including the Cube ($1,300), UP! Start Plus ($1,500), and MakerBot's Replicator ($1,750) and Thing-O-Matic (not offered right now). But who wants to spend over $1,000 bucks?

Now, former COO of MakerBot, Sam Cervantes, has designed an affordable 3D printer for tech geeks on a budget. It's called the Solidoodle and can print up to 6 inches cubed for just $500! Well, actually it's $499.

Solidoodle: Cheap 3D Printing at Home for Under $500!

Now, you can finally start experimenting with 3D printing at home, without breaking the bank. You can pre-order a basic one for $500 without a door or case, which are merely aesthetic qualities. There are two other models (Pro and Expert) that will give you more options for $50 or $100 more, which still isn't bad. Check them out here. You can learn more about how the project came to be here.

Here's a few videos of the Solidoodle in action.

If you get a 3D printer (or already have one), we want to see your creations! Post up some pics on our corkboard for all to see!

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You could always DIY the door and case.

The left-digit effect is an amazing thing.

Great find! That's an awesome deal if it works as well as it appears to. I've thought about buying a 3D printer just to make replacements for plastic parts that break on my landscaping equipment. Some of the smallest parts for my machines can run over $50, if they're available at all. Once I see a few reviews I may be purchasing one.

Most plastic parts are only sold attached to larger assemblies. For example, right now I've got a piece of plastic that has broken off the assembly that controls the lights in my truck, which is too old to be found at any local scrap yards, and to get a new one I have to buy the entire lighting control box which runs about $80. All I need is the plastic piece, but you can't get one without buying everything it's attached to. That is a very common problem in my experience.

The unfortunate thing is that from what I've heard the ABS melt type of 3D printers produces very brittle prints that can't stand up to real working use. Hopefully that's not the case for this particular model.

Hmm. Let us know what you find out. As you can see in that third video above, a 3D printed carabiner doesn't stand a chance in rock climbing. But that just seems ridiculous anyways. I'm sure some printed plastic parts would work for other applications though. I have a habit of breaking nylon rivets in my car, and though inexpensive, it'd be nice to know if you could make a working plastic rivet with this machine.

I can easily see replacement parts running that high, especially if they're for equipment no longer offered. And the smaller the parts gets, the harder they are to find!

Nice article. I'd go buy one if i had $500 in pocket!
Still i have one perplexity: with normal ink-jet printer the ink usually runs out pretty fast (my printer is no professional) and I was wondering whether i'll need to refill the plastic and how much that will cost.

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