$100 3D Printer
July 2016 Update: I received the following email from a Dude reader this week: "Hey, just a heads up, I just checked their page and the inventor says that the business partner stole people's money whom invested in this product." I have not verified this information with Peachy Printer directly, but there are several articles online discussing the embezzlement and the product's failure to launch. Here's one if you're interested.
In light of this unfortunate development (yet another from the crowdfunding octagon to go down) I am listing the Peachy Printer as Discontinued and removing links to the company's website.
At $100, the Peachy Printer appears to hold the current title of World's Least Expensive 3D printer. And that's $100 Canadian, so it's even less than 3 digits if you live in the US or Euroland. That said, what the plus-or-minus $100 gets Peachy Kickstarter campaign backers is actually a printer kit, which includes all parts necessary to build the printer yourself, plus 100 ml of the resin it uses as "ink". Creators Rinnovated Design estimate assembly will take only 1 hour. That's good news for whomever I charge with putting mine together.
The Peachy is a photolithographic printer, meaning it employs a controlled beam of light to cure resin into hard objects. As with most 3D printers, the object to be printed must first undergo digital 3D rendering. Peachy uses the software Blender to generate 3D models, plus an add-on Rinnovated Design wrote to complement their specific printer's requirements for translating 3D models into audio waveforms. That is, Peachy software pipes designs as audio files to the printer through users' computer headphone jacks. So far pretty cool, 'ey?
Once a waveform hits the printer, it drives a pair of electromagnetic mirrors that reflect and control the path of the laser beam Peachy uses to conduct its resin. These steps dictate a printed object's shape on the X and Y axes. To create movement on the Z axis, Peachy uses a salt water retention system at its top that siphons downward to a valve-controlled drip feed. The computer's microphone jack detects drips as they pass through a pair of contact points and generate an electrical connection. As the drips recollect in the Peachy's bottom container, they cause the resin floating atop the container to rise, in turn informing the Peachy software how much resin to release and for how long.
Hot damn. I almost understood some of that.
Pledge your Benjamin for the Peachy 3D Printer kit through October 20, 2013. Or pledge a few Benjamins for a fully-assembled Peachy ($389).