How cool would it be to have a 3D printer at home? Can you imagine the kind of buffoonery you can concoct with one of those things in tow? Assuming you’re the kind of dork who likes to design 3D models, you can literally be printing your own batch of plastic toys right from the comfort of your own garage (or your mom’s basement, whichever the case may be). Maybe, you’ll even end up with one cool enough to get featured in these pages!
Of course, you’ll likely be waiting years (or decades) before being able to enjoy one. 3D printers, after all, are industrial machines intended for commercial purposes, instead of creativity tools for hobbyists to play around with. Even “cheap” models will likely run you up to $40k+ in bills – how the hell are you going to justify paying for that?
A few industrious (and skilled) folks, of course, have been using the RepRap, an open-source solution to constructing your own automated plastic-shapers. If you’re like most of us, though, a project like that may prove well beyond your capabilities.
The Makerbot CupCake CNC is a $700 kit that lets you build your own 3D printer, with all necessary parts wrapped in one convenient bundle. It comes with complete instructions, eliminating much of the know-how that putting a RepRap together deems mandatory. Everything you will require to construct and begin operating your own box comes with the package, including lasercut parts, three NEMA motors, all electronic and mechanical components, 5 lbs of ABS plastic and more.
Drooling already? Don’t expect the same quality as commercial machines, though. This is strictly a hobbyist device – enough for those crazy projects you’ve got rolling around your head but likely won’t cut it for market-ready wares. If you’ve got the $700, I can’t imagine any moderately-creative tinkerer not getting one.