It was in late 2014 when I received a press release regarding a new 3D printer aimed at children but being funded through Kickstarter. Aiming 3D printers at children had so far failed in the marketplace, as had the marketing war cry, "A 3D printer in every child's bedroom!"
Why target children? The less obvious answer is that the 3D printer can be less sophisticated (ie, cheaper to make), along with the more obvious hope that by snaring them young, the vendor gains a customer for life -- alway a dubious proposition.
I hung onto the press release, because I wanted to see if it would fail. It did, despite a flurry of positive press around the November 2014 announcement.
The company Web site today
Here is the press release in its entirety. I've left out the identifying names. (Emphasis mine.)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE 3D PRINTER BRINGS TOMORROW'S TECHNOLOGY INTO TODAY'S HOME
Family-friendly, Child-safe, Proven Technology at an Affordable Price!
3D printing, in the form of the revolutionary 3D Printer, is finally ready for prime time – not to mention play time and study time! Designed BY families FOR families, the 3D Printer aims to make an exciting new technology as commonplace and worry-free as a microwave oven. While not quite “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot”, the D Printer just might be the closest thing on Earth to home-based Star Trek tech.
Currently featured in a high-profile Kickstarter campaign, the 3D Printer is the first such featured device to offer a one-year warranty, FREE lifetime online education, and a family-friendly, child-safe design.
Though 3D printing technology has proven its worth time and time again in recent years, the majority of applications have been in industrial and commercial settings. The 3D Printer is the logical next step in the evolution of 3D printing, seamlessly incorporating this advanced technology into our daily lives by ensuring it's safe, simple to use, and affordable.
To that end, the R&D team behind the 3D Printer made safety a priority in all aspects of the design, beginning with the elegantly rounded, Polycarbonate-ABS injection molded case. There are no confusing and superfluous buttons or screens, no sharp edges or fiddly clamps, no hot plates or wayward lasers to burn tiny hands or damage inquisitive eyes. Instead, a large window illuminated by a cool-running white LED bulb showcases each and every 3D-printed creation as it comes into being, layer by paper-thin layer.
“Sure there are competitive products with flashy laser cutter attachments,” explains one of the Co-Founders behind the 3D Printer, “but as a parent do you really want that in your home? I don't know how many times my son has reached in for a part while it's printing. If that was a laser cutter he would not have a hand!”
The 3D Printer isn't just user-safe, it's environmentally-friendly too. The 3D printing process employs biodegradable print material derived from renewable resources such as corn starch and sugarcane. This material does NOT give off foul-smelling, toxic fumes when the printer is used, making it ideal for home or classroom use. Available in a rainbow of colors at a surprisingly low price, the material comes in the form of thin flexible filaments wound on spools for ease of storage.
The family-oriented team behind the 3D Printer strongly believes in the value of their “baby”; the fact they're offering a one-year warranty with every 3D Printer (no other price-competitive product on Kickstarter or otherwise offers this) means they're in this for the long haul.
The result of the Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2014
In addition, when you purchase a 3D Printer you also gain access to FREE on-line education for life. “We have learned so much along the way through this journey and want other families and kids to benefit,” states a Co-Founder of the company. “What we found frustrating, however, was that we could not find a good on-line educational resource that teaches how to use 3D printers, where to find and/or design images, and so on. Our goal is to create an on-line educational community of learning with training modules, instructional videos, projects for family, friends, kids, and school teachers.” You can't put a price on that kind of knowledge!
Both co-founders share the vision of bringing a learning package centered on the 3D printer into the classroom. It is their hope that teachers will take advantage of this amazing technology to further their learning experience in order to reach the diverse endpoints required in the Board of Education curriculum. For example, a learning module of the grade 4 science curriculum could be developed that exploits the capacities of the 3d printer, allowing students to actually make their own gears and pulleys. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, well then a working model is worth a million!” he explains. “There are many aspects of the curriculum where the 3D Printer could be used to further the learning process from biology to geometry and so much more,” according to him, “and if we are successfully funded in Kickstarter these are the types of things we would do.”
The 3D Printer lists for $799.99 at the company website but in concert with the Kickstarter campaign running until the end of 2014, purchasers can take advantage of a host of special, value-added discounts: the Early Bird at $649, the Kickstarter Special at $699, and the value-infused Kickstarter Bundle that features a trio of 3D Printers plus three spools of printing filament for just $1,999!
For more information on the revolutionary, groundbreaking, family-friendly 3D Printer, please visit the home page and the Kickstarter campaign page .
ABOUT 3D Printer
3D Printer was co-founded by several families inspired by the wealth of opportunities offered by the amazing new world of 3D printing. We believe an affordable, easy to use, and child-safe 3D printer such as 3D Printer should be available to ALL families and should be a vital component of every home and classroom. Our founders have successfully launched new products in Canada and have expertise in product development and fulfilment while our team includes skilled engineers who have spent many years designing and making 3D printers and software.
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The company Web site is down, but its Twitter account is still active, with the last tweet on April 2015. The jurisdictional government reports that the corporation is still "Active" but has "Dissolution Pending" due to "Non-compliance," which I probably is due to failing to file annual reports and so on.