Ok so the name isn’t the catchiest you’ll come across, but the Velleman K8200 that has just gone on sale at Maplin is the beginning of a revolution that will change the world. Yep, what you’re looking at is the very first 3D printer in the UK designed for standard home and consumer use, with a price of just £700.
Until now, the industrial and commercial 3D printers on the market have been priced completely out of the reach of the average person and are also impossibly expensive to maintain.
So the lucky folks that take home the Velleman K8200 will be the first in the UK to have the ability to print technically anything they can think of, just as long as it isn’t bigger in size than 20cm³. This might make the K8200 sound a bit limited, but when you start to think about how many little plastic items are lying around the home and in our lives every day, it’s actually a phenomenal piece of kit.
According to the manufacturer for example, you’ll be able to print something like a mobile phone case of your own design in less than half an hour.
The printer works in conjunction with a computer with the appropriate design software. A 3D image of whatever it is that’s to be printed is designed on the computer and then the K8200 takes care of the rest. The printing is done with 0.5mm thin strips of plastic which are shaped and layered in accordance with the rendering.
Well, it doesn’t exactly do all the work as there is one slight catch to deal with. The set on sale at Maplin comes in the form of a kit, which according to those behind it takes a good ten hours solid to assemble. They assure us that this is all part of the fun and a joyful experience in itself, but we’l reserve judgment on that for now at least!
But still, the first commercially available and affordable 3D printer is here and bound to change quite a few lives – especially those short on plastic knick-knacks.