And another 3D printer was launched on Kickstarter today. I’m starting to lose count of the number of times I have written that lately!
This one is PandaBot, and, I’m going to be honest, I kind of assumed I knew exactly what I was going to see as I clicked the link through to the Kickstarter site.
I was wrong — I seriously should know better than to make assumptions in this industry!!
There were a few familiar phrases of course — affordable, easy-to-use and so forth. That has to be standard patter for vendors at the entry level, they’re hardly going to declare that it is expensive and requires an engineering degree to run smoothly.
But there were some really notable differences that got my attention — this 3D printer is billed as elegant. Now I am pretty sure I have not seen that word associated with an actual 3D printer before — some 3D printed parts yes, but not the systems themselves (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). And I have to admit, this is totally inline with the Kickstarter pitch and the imagery of the system. It looks very cool, and attractive — and it’s been designed to appeal to a mass ‘prosumer’ market with the capability to “just work”.
But looks aren’t everything, or so I’m led to believe.
So let’s take a closer look and a peak under the hood.
The PandaBot has been developed by a small team at Panda Robotics in just 9 months — as the project launches there is a fully designed and built prototype printer, crucially it has been designed as a manufactured product conscious of construction techniques and materials that will ensure the final product is “exceptionally stable, robust, and quiet.” Furthermore it is fully encased in metal, further ensuring rigidity and less susceptible to vibration and therefore reducing printing errors during build. There’s a nice little anecdote on this point: “We’ve proven this by going from the back of a taxi to successfully printing on live national TV with no adjustments in less than 5 minutes.”
So here are the key differentiators at a glance:
- The PandaBot is self-calibrating and will print straight out of the box.
- By making a beautiful product Panda Robotics claims it can drag 3D printing out of the batch processing era and make it personal.
- A capacitive sensing heated build bed that ensures the Pandabot printer knows where the head is vertically and automatically calibrates itself in software.
- User friendly software that takes the complexity out of turning designs into objects — converts STLs into G-code with a few easy settings that allow users to control the production speed and quality of their objects, just like the quality settings for your regular printer. With an option for more control under an advanced tab if required.
Specifications at a glance:
- Print envelope: 11″x11″x11″
- Custom heated capacitive-sensing build-bed
- 120˚C maximum temperature Maximum nozzle temperature: 265˚C
- Works with 1.75mm filament
- Layer thickness: 0.1mm
- Maximum speed: 60mm/s
- Material: ABS
- USB connection
- External international 110/220V power supply
- Powder-coated aluminum shell
- File format: STL or G-code Software: Panda Robotics G-code generator or your tool of choice
- Platform: Windows, Mac, and Linux
Within the US a standard PandaBot (+ T-shirt) is available for $800. Add $100 if you are anywhere else in the world.
Delivery is slated for February 2013.
At time of writing, on day 1, the project has 16 backers, raising $6430 of the $50k goal.