Welcome to the world of the sub-$1,000 3D printer. Manufacturer Pirate3D has promised that their Buccaneer printer will cost a mere $347, about $1,700 less than the cheapest extrusion-based printer available. The printer can print at a maximum of 100 microns – the same as the Makerbot’s – and prints at 50mm/s. It connects to your computer or mobile device via Wi-Fi and is made of stamped steel.
The output of the printer looks to be just on the edge of acceptable, especially given the price, but as this stream of photos shows, the Buccaneer has a 5.8×3.9×4.7 in build area, about half the size of a Replicator 2 and the prints are a bit jagged. The renders they’ve provided show a 3D printer that looks, at best, to be on par with the Form One in terms of quality.
Am I certain this thing will ever ship? Not really. Depends far too much on exciting “blog updates” and highly stylized photos to be an actual product just yet and $347 is quite low. Given that a good extruder is somewhere in the $50 to $75 range, there can’t be much going on in the brains of this machine and they’re going to have to cut corners somewhere. I obviously hope that this thing works as advertised – given that you can now sell a home games console for $99 it seems feasible that they can get 3D printer prices down as well – but, as in everything, you get what you pay for.
They are also planning a Kickstarter campaign shortly so you’ll be able to line up for one of these puppies in a few days.