3D printers generally have a pretty large footprint, so it was likely only a matter of time before someone decided to work on shrinking one to the point of portability. Just, well, because. Meet Bukito: a “take it everywhere” extruder 3D printer which has already doubled its original Kickstarter funding goal of $54,000 with 10 days still left to run on the campaign.
The printer has a handle up top for carrying it from place to place, and can apparently continue printing even when being held upside down or at an angle, although that’s not entirely advised by its creators. Weight is sub-2kg, with aluminum used for the frame. And just in case you had any doubts about its portability the creators have shot a video showing the printer being hoisted aloft by an octocopter while still printing.
Being small enough to be portable, the printer obviously isn’t going to be spitting out massive objects. Build volume is 125 x 150 x 125mm, with a nozzle size of 0.5mm. The metal extruder design can apparently handle the following materials: PLA, ABS, MABS, Nylon, Laywood (although they say you may need a different platform to handle some, which they will be including with the shipping product). Print resolution is 50 microns on the X/Y axis and 100 microns on the Z.
What’s the point of a portable 3D printer? We’re not entirely sure that’s massive mileage in the concept but of course it does mean you can more easily take the printer round to friends, your work, school and so on. Also there’s the shrunken price factor to consider, which may be what’s most attracting backers here. Creator Deezmaker’s early bird offer of 75 pledges of $549 to bag a Bukito have all gone, but there are still a few pledge options at $599 (or more).
A circa $600 price-tag means the Bukito is a lot cheaper than high end 3D printers like the Makerbot Replicator 2.0, which costs circa $2,199 (but will of course turn out a far superior end product), and a little more expensive than Pirate3D’s Buccaneer ‘affordable’ 3D printer, which has a price-tag of around $350.
As well as its relatively low price, the Bukito’s apparently rugged portability may be attracting interest — since, with 3D printing still a nascent tech, having a carry-handle on top gives the impression that it’s robust enough to handle a bit of user misuse/trial and error too.