Following on from its highly publicized “guess the price” competition over the last couple of weeks, which received over 4000 entries, and true to their word, the team at Pirate3D has announced the official RRP of the Buccaneer (now ®) 3D printer. At an affordable $347 (£226), which they point out is approximately half the price of an iPad, this is certainly a price point that could see a whole host of new users — from tinkerers and makers to schools and kids — joining the 3D printing industry at the entry level.
The Buccaneer® 3D printer comes fully-assembled and has been listed at this price to encourage mass market adoption, according to Pirate 3D, whose CEO Roger Chang, states: “Our vision is a 3D printer in every home. This would be impossible if the device costs a few thousand dollars. We intend to build an ecosystem of innovation and creation. However we would never reach our goal if 3D printers remain as novelty items that are priced beyond the reach of the everyday consumer.”
We’ve not yet had full visibility on the machine itself or the quality of parts it produces, however, if it comes anywhere close to meeting its claims of being “comparable to other Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) devices on the market”; printing at speeds of up to 50mm/s; with layer thickness down to100 micron; and looking as funky and well-designed as it does in the pre-launch marketing material then the Bucaneer could be all set to cause a stir.
“It is not just about building a great technical product but about building a great user experience,” said Tsang You Jun, Chief of Design & User Experience. “The Buccaneer® communicates wirelessly with mobile devices via WiFi, and this allows you to control it via your mobile phone or tablet – this makes using your Buccaneer simple and intuitive. We built our product along the design principles of Apple, only what is absolutely necessary is there; there are no unnecessary buttons nor wires. We want The Buccaneer® to be the easiest to use 3D printer!”
Furthermore, according to Pirate3D, they are able to offer this affordable price by maintaining lean margins and cost saving manufacturing techniques. “We could have marked up our selling price and bathed in piles of cash,” says Brendan Goh, Pirate3D’s Chief of Operations. “We have a dream, a dream to make this technology affordable for everyone. We have been using 3D printers for a couple of years, and now find them indispensable; like how a computer or cell phone is to you. Everyone should have access to such an essential piece of technology.” As such, the Buccaneer has been designed to be built using cost saving mass production & design for manufacturing (DFM) processes. Relying on stamped metal parts and extrusions, the Buccaneer can be produced in bulk at low cost. In comparison, current consumer 3D printers are designed to be made in small batches.
Now, as a result of the guess the price challenge, four lucky people that guessed at $347 will be in receipt of a fully decked out Buccaneer 3D printer. Other guesses ranged from $3 to $20,000. ($3!! Seriously??).
Pirate3D state that they will open for pre-orders of the Buccaneer in the coming weeks, with no indication if this will come via crowd-funding or an alternative.
Can hardly wait.
I haven’t met these guys in person yet – but there is something about them that makes me have all my fingers and toes crossed for them. Maybe it’s their sense of humour ….?
From Pirate3D Blog: