At $400, the Buccaneer May Be the Most Consumer-Friendly 3D Printer Yet

Ethan Lowry
May 30, 2013

As we’ve noted, 3D printing is rapidly reaching consumer price-points. The latest entrant, the Buccaneer, just launched on Kickstarter. The printer focuses on ease of use and aesthetic appeal, with a price that’s among the lowest out there.

A little reminiscent of the look of the Form 1, the device is beautiful. They are very clearly trying to make a product that has appeal beyond the tinkerer market. This looks like something you’d see on a desk at home or in a designers’ office, rather than a tool in a maker’s garage.

They’ve also tackled the biggest barrier to using a 3D printer: software. 3D modeling software is unfamiliar to most people, it’s easy to mess up, and requires a lot of training or practice to master. The Buccaneer has a couple of unique software features that differentiate it from the crowd.

First, you can download prints to the device from the cloud. Layer By Layer has built software to enable this for the MakerBot, but for the Buccaneer this works out of the box. No more tweaking and reorienting the model on your computer to get the print to work well. You can even use your mobile phone to manage the download.

Second, they’ve introduced a simplified 3D modeling tool built around “Smart Objects”. Basically, they’ve designed a number of common objects with adjustable parameters. As long as you are willing to play within those parameters, there’s no need to break out Solid Works.

Of course, these cloud prints and smart objects are limited to what they have in their store, but for many users this may help bridge the gap and begin to use a 3D printer.

And that brings us to the last important part of making this printer appeal to consumers: the price. At $397 it’s not the cheapest printer out there, but it’s very close. And when you add in the aesthetic appeal and improved software options, this is a very compelling offering. Maybe that’s why one day into their campaign they’ve already raised $200,000.

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