The prices of consumer 3D printers continue to drop, and the New Matter MOD-t is the cheapest one yet — though you'll have to wait a year to get it. The "Early Bird Special" version of this 3D printer from Pasadena, California-based startup New Matter was selling for $149 USD on crowdfunding website Indiegogo, but within hours of the campaign going live today (May 28) all 500 available units had been sold.
The MOD-t is still available for $199 on the Indiegogo campaign, and will retail for $249 when it hits the market in April 2015. New Matter has also announced it will launch an online 3D printing store at the end of the Indiegogo campaign, which it describes as "Etsy meets iTunes," where users will be able to purchase share and upload designs.
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The MOD-t prints in the organic plastic called PLA, one of the most common and easy-to-use printing materials. It extrudes this material from a nozzle with a diameter of 0.4 millimeters, the same as most consumer 3D printers such as the MakerBot Replicator Mini ($1,375), the Da Vinci ($499) and the Pirate3D Buccaneer ($899).
To create 3D printed objects, the MOD-t builds them layer by layer from the ground up (this is called fused filament fabrication, or fused deposition modeling, which most 3D printers use).
The MOD-t can print layers as thin as 0.2 millimeters (this is called the layer resolution). This is not the best consumer 3D printer resolution, but it is in line with other, far more expensive printers. The Makerbot Replicator Mini, for example, has a 0.1 millimeter print resolution, and costs $1375 (though the Mini does have other features the MOD-t does not, such as a camera inside the print bay to show your project's progress).
The MOD-t can print objects up to 6 inches by 4 inches by 5 inches, which puts it right around the middle range of its competitors in the consumer 3D printing space. In total the MOD-t weighs eleven pounds.
The accompanying 3D printing software runs on Windows 7 and higher, with Mac OS X, Android and iOS versions planned for a future release. The MOD-t connects to this computer via Wi-Fi or a USB 2.0 port.
All in all, the MOD-t is certainly not the flashiest 3D printer around, but from the Indiegogo campaign looks like it has everything basic designers, educators or hobbyists need to get started with 3D printing.