I know a lot of people who see 3D printing as a complicated, inaccessible technology that they’d never be able to figure out. “I’m terrible at computers.” “I know nothing about programming or design.” It’s true that for some 3D printing applications, a lot of expertise is necessary, but a lot of printers that have been hitting the market lately are designed specifically to be easy to use. The plug-and-play printer has become very popular as people realize how much they can do with 3D printing even without coding or design experience.
The new B-Creative 3D Printer, currently on Kickstarter, may be the easiest, most user-friendly printer yet. It’s designed to be operated from a smartphone, and the only skill you need is to be able to open an app and push a button. If you are an experienced designer who wants to create original work, this isn’t the printer for you, but if you’re just looking to print some things without hassle, the B-Creative may be exactly what you’re looking for. Since it’s operated wirelessly, you can print from anywhere – if you’re at work, in the car (just don’t print while driving) or anywhere else, all you need to do is open the B-Creative app, select the design you want, hit start, and your print will be waiting for you when you get home.
The B-Creative is a small desktop printer, but the print volume isn’t bad for its size: the printer itself measures 39.6 x 37 x 39 cm, with a print size of 16 x 18 x 16 cm. It’s also significantly less expensive than other printers of comparable size. The expected retail price will be around $799, but the Kickstarter price is $599. The campaign is trying to raise $50,000 by March 8, with the goal to begin shipping in June.
Rewards are pretty straightforward. Pledge $20 or more and you’ll receive a B-Creative T-shirt; donate $599 and you’ll get a printer along with a 1kg roll of PLA filament. Note that this is an early bird special, with about half of the 50 available already claimed, so act fast if you want to take advantage of the $599 price. There’s also an early bird option to get two printers for $1,099 plus 2.2lb of PLA; there’s still 9 out of 10 available for this cost. A stretch goal is listed, as well: if the campaign reaches $250,000, you can choose between gold and silver for your printer’s metal shell, which promises protection and durability.
Speaking of PLA, the B-Creative makes your filament storage convenient as well, with a handy cartridge holder on the side capable of storing two filament cartridges at a time. The printer accepts PLA and TPU filament, as well as specialty PLA such as wood and glow-in-the-dark.
While printing with the B-Creative is about as simple as you can get, you do have some control over your print settings, with print layer support from 0.05mm to 0.4mm. The B-Creative team suggests a 0.1mm-0.2mm setting for everyday print jobs, while 0.05mm is best for high-precision prints. Oh, and in case you’re one of those few people who doesn’t own a smartphone, you can still use the B-Creative; an LCD touch screen is built in. Are you thinking about backing this Kickstarter campaign? Discuss in the B-Creative 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.