One of the more interesting projects on Kickstarter, to me, is the Buccaneer 3D printer from Pirate3D. There’re a number of reasons, most importantly being that 3D printing is cool, and that they are a Singapore company. A startup, involving folks from NUS and NTU. Then, of course, it’s also really affordable, and designed to be a consumer appliance.
Like many other Kickstarter projects, the Buccaneer was severely delayed. What was promised in to ship in February 2014 eventually happened only in June 2015. But, of course, better late than never. I’m really glad that Pirate3D persevered, kept their house in order, and shipped. You can never be too sure nowadays when even highly successful Kickstarter projects can flop.
3D printers don’t come cheap. They used to be very very expensive. So when projects like Makerbot, Printerbot, and other similar came along promising cheap 3D printing, well, honestly, they just weren’t cheap enough. Then Buccaneer came along, launching from only US$247 (US$297 with shipping) for early birds.
The Buccaneer is different from many other 3D printers at its time in 2013. It actually looks pretty, like it’s something that you’d have and use at home, a consumer-ready appliance. It’s not at all like a science lab contraption.
Geeks and techies, of course, may not care too much about the looks of a printer. What matters is if it can print, how well does it print, and for many people too, if it is affordable. Well, it is affordable through the Kickstarter campaign. What about the technical specifications? Take a look:
- Wi-Fi connected
- 130 x 96 x 139 mm print volume
- 50 microns layer resolution
- 1.75 mm filament diameter
- 400 g filament cartridge capacity
- Print apps for Windows, iOS and Android
The web-based printing interface seems to have pretty much moved into native apps, which unfortunately doesn’t include support for Mac. The Wi-Fi access seems to be rather iffy too. I’ll write about that in a more detailed review another time.
The Buccaneer uses fused filament fabrication technology. Basically, this means it melts filament and extrudes it onto a print surface, building up a print object layer by layer until it is completed.
The consumables, meaning the 1.75 mm plastic filament spools, are standard types which you can buy from elsewhere. You might not get the same cartridge size to fit the Buccaneer, but you can always reuse the one that came with the printer. Or, you could just forgo the cartridge, although that might leave you with a mess of spooled plastic to manage. You are not stuck with Pirate3D for your future consumables.
This post is a quick preview of the Buccaneer. Overall, the Buccaneer looks to be pretty well made, but the software could do with some improvements. Look out for more detailed review in a later post!