The budget 3D printer market is very competitive, with dozens of models on the market today. But they all tend to look alike, with most being derived from the incredibly popular Prusa i3 design. While those budget printers are often capable enough, they all share similar specs and just scream “generic.” Before the company sadly went out of business a couple of years ago, Printrbot was known for producing really innovative 3D printers. Now, Printrbot founder Brook Drumm is bringing that energy back. Together with Josh Mitchell and Ian Wilding, he is launching the quirky and affordable new Plybot 3D printer through Kickstarter.
The Plybot Kickstarter campaign just started and already it has raised more than $20,000, but the team needs your help to reach the $50,000 funding goal. You shouldn’t purchase a 3D printer just because it looks unique, which is why it is fortunate that the Plybot seems to also be capable and well-built. This 3D printer was originally designed by Josh Mitchell in 2018 when he was just 18 years old. His outside-the-box creation, which was originally made from plywood and intended to be flat-packed, was a bit like the lovechild of a delta-style 3D printer and a conventional Cartesian 3D printer. Two arms that ride on traditional Z axis rails hold the hot end and move it across the XY plane — a layout that we haven’t seen on any other 3D printer.
While Mitchell’s original Plybot design was constructed from plywood, this production version is made of metal and what appears to be injection-molded plastic. Both of the arms are actuated by steppers motors through high-end drivers that allow for nearly silent operation. Despite the very compact size of the machine, Plybot has a print volume of 7” x 6” x 5”. Like the printers produced by Printrbot in the past, Plybot does not have a heated bed included. That means that you’ll be mostly limited to printing in PLA. It does, however, have a removable flexible magnetic bed that makes it easy to pop off completed prints. The entire printer weighs just 12lbs and can be controlled via a mobile app, making Plybot perfect for portable printing. It is equipped with a dual gear extruder that feeds the hot end through a Bowden tube, which reduces moving weight and improves print quality. While it can certainly go faster, Drumm reports that Plybot can print reliably at 60mm/s.
If you want to get your hands on a Plybot, you can back the Kickstarter campaign until March 7th. Early birds can get a Plybot in a limited edition matte black color for $299. Rewards are expected to be delivered in July.