Whenever a new piece of technology is introduced, you can bet that the portable version won’t be far behind. I had a Walkman as a child, then its CD playing counterpart, the Discman, in high school. At the time, portable music players were high technology, but they’re pretty archaic now. Portable 3D printers, however, are just starting to appear on the scene.
A new Indiegogo campaign has been introduced to address two common 3D printer concerns: their size, and their cost. The small, portable TekBot weighs about 4kg and can be plugged into the user’s computer via USB or SD card. Retail price looks to be about $255, but early supporters of the Indiegogo campaign can get one for as low as $214.
The campaign, which runs until December 17, aims to raise $25,000 to facilitate the production of the portable printer. If you’re a DIY type, you can build your own TekBot for $15; supporters who donate that amount will receive all of the STL and SketchUp files necessary to print the parts, along with a construction manual for assembly.
The final version of the TekBot will include an intuitive LCD display, but early bird supporters who donate $214 will receive a version with all parts minus the display included by December. If you’re one of the first 15 to donate $235, however, you’ll get the fll version in December, LCD included. Even if the project isn’t funded, early bird rewards will still be shipped.
If you spring for one of the early shipments without an LCD display, you’ll still have the capability to retrofit one later if you should so desire. Without the LCD, it’s still a simple plug-and-play device; just pop the USB into your computer’s port, select your files and print. No preheating of the printer bed is required, and the final version will come with a removable print bed.
All components are designed to be easily replaceable, and initial assembly shouldn’t take more than a couple hours. The TekBot, which promises a quick, quiet print job, is compatible with most software programs and can be used with any type of filament that does not require a heat bed and can be printed at under 260° Celsius.
- Printer Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Molding)
- Printer Size: 36 x 43 x 42 cm
- Build Volume: 17 x 17 x 22 cm
- Nozzle Size: 0.4mm/400 microns (changeable)
- Layer Resolution: 01.-0.4mm/100-400 microns
- Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
- Connectivity: USB/SD Card (version with LCD)
- Net Weight: ~4 kg
- Power Supply: 12 VDC (100-240 V/10 A adapter)
TekBot is the brainchild of Christian Frankenstein, whose company TekLab has been providing web interfacing services for a decade. This year, the German company entered the 3D printing market by offering the Prusa i3 printer for sale on their site. If the TekBot takes off, you may be hearing their name a lot more. A lot of people shy away from 3D printing because of the cost; an affordable, portable printer may be the thing that draws them in.
Will you be backing this campaign on Indiegogo? Let us know in the TekBot forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the TekBot prototype in actino below: