Late last year we were in the midst of an all out war on Kickstarter. A war which was certainly good for consumers, but not so good for 3D printer manufacturers who were all competing to offer the most affordable desktop machines within the market. While the fierce battle has died down, the race to the bottom (in terms of price) has continued. With New Matter recently opening up orders for their MOD-t 3D printer, which is priced at under $400, believe it or not, there are other machines which are significantly undercutting these prices as well.
One such company is HobbyKing, who has teamed with Tiny Boy, an open hardware 3D printer project founded by a man named Parker Leung and supported by the Hong Kong Creative Open Technology Association (HKCOTA). In doing so, they have just blown the cover off of the desktop 3D printing market, if of course you are ok with a machine with a rather small print envelope.
The Tiny Boy 3D printer, which we covered back in March when the project was originally announced, is now being offered on the HobbyKing website at an unheard of price of just $179.77. Branded as the Mini Fabricator, the machine comes in either an orange or transparent enclosure and features the following specifications:
- Printer size: 150mm x 150mm x 220mm
- Build Envelope: 80mm x 80mm x 80mm
- Filament type and diameter: PLA at 1.75mm
- Software: Repetier-Host
“Our aim with bringing this printer to market was to offer our customers a cost effective way to try out 3D printing with a footprint that can accommodate most hobbyist’s early projects,” explains HobbyKing on their sales page. “Because of the small overall size of this printer it will fit in even the most restricted of work spaces and can picked up and easily stored, making it ideal for schools and students.”
The printer is suited for most age groups, and features a build chamber which protects the print from outside influence. Because of its size, it is also incredibly portable, allowing you to take it wherever you go if desired. Because of the open source framework used for this machine, HobbyKing claims that the design is ‘future proof,’ allowing users to exploit DIY community for upgrades.
The Tiny Boy machine was originally deigned for students to build themselves, as a part of a curriculum which would teach them the mechanics of 3D printing. Because of this, the machine is incredibly simple as well as very easy to repair and modify. While this may not be the machine for someone looking to print larger items, HobbyKing does note that the quality of prints that the Fabricator Mini produces is outstanding and very comparable to larger machines.
Those interesting in ordering this machine, can do so at the HobbyKing website and they will also be able to utilize the Tiny Boy community for any support questions they may have. Let us know your thoughts on this exceptionally affordable machine in the HobbyKing $179 3D Printer forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below with further details about this offering: