Not long ago, the TIKO 3D printer debuted at SXSW, showing off its specs to attendees and boldly proclaiming an upcoming retail price of $179. The unique looking delta-style 3D printer has finally hit Kickstarter and its early-bird reward, which began the TIKO at $99, has already sold out. At this writing, $139 pledge packages are still available and the campaign is well past the halfway mark of its $100,000 goal.
Now that the TIKO is in official crowdfunding mode, its specs are on complete display. The printer is entirely cloud-controlled, so that it cannot be controlled via USB drive or SD card, but it is also not tethered to a computer at all. Measuring 125mm in diameter and 125mm high (2.27 liters)the printer can hold a 1 kg roll of filament. The printer uses a prepless printbed, meaning that it requires no painter’s tape or special coating. This is not unheard of in the 3D printing community, but certainly adds a selling point to this low-cost machine.
Tiko 3D claims that they are able to achieve such a low price through the printer’s streamlined design. Such design features include the printbed – to remove printed objects, one simply lifts the very light top half of the unibody printer chassis up and takes out the print. The accelerometer in the Tiko is meant to ensure calibration and, if users agree to participate, the chip will capture the printer’s performance and send it to the Tiko team.
And, in place of a cooling fan, for controlling the printer’s extrusion temperature and build chamber, are “carefully designed vents”, according to Tiko 3D CEO Matt Gajkowski, “that are a part of the liquefier/end effector, which optimize convection and heat management to reach our thermal performance requirements.” When I asked him about the price point – referencing similarly low-priced Kickstarter printers that did not deliver on their promises – Matt explained, “Indeed we have faced some skepticism about the price point, and we feel it’s worthwhile to note that Tiko 3D printer on the market, and that is exactly what has made it so affordable.”
The hype and price of this printer will likely drive this Kickstarter campaign past its goal soon, with $179 being such a low price that most financially comfortable consumers willing to part with a couple hundred bucks to get their hands on a 3D printer. Whether or not it will be worth the money is yet to be seen. As my dad always warns me whenever I’m about to buy anything impulsively, “you get what you pay for.” But, if, like me, you’re drawn in by the price alone, head over to their Kickstarter page.