Arduino adds affordable 3D printing to its open source hardware model

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The Arduino/Sharebot Materia 101 3D printer

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Arduino may be known for revolutionizing open source hardware platforms, but this week enters the 3D printer market with the small and (relatively) affordable Materia 101. Produced in partnership with fellow Italian company Sharebot, the printer is targeted towards educators, beginners, consumers, and makers.

Materia 101 is based around Arduino’s Mega board, while Sharebot provides the 3D printer know-how. Sharebot has recently opened up designs of various parts of previous printers, and will release technical drawings and mechanical documentation for the Materia 101. Like the Arduino microcontrollers, the printer will be open-source.

The machine features a print area of 140 x 100 x 100 mm, and a print volume of 1,400 cubic mm. While this puts the printer firmly in the "mini" camp, the price is also mini. While firm pricing hasn’t been announced yet, a kit will sell for less than €600 (US$760) and a pre-assembled version for less than €700 (US$890), and will only be sold on the Arduino store.

The print dimensions, pricing, and other features such as an LCD screen identify it as similar to Sharebot’s Kiwi-3D machine. PLA is the only supported filament, though many other popular filaments have been tested, including the bendable Cristal Flex, along with sand and wood composites.

Recently Dremel became another company to strike out into adding 3D printers to its existing products. Arduino already has a niche within the maker and hackerspace community for its microcontrollers, which is an overlapping user base with 3D printing.

The official presentation of the Materia will happen at Maker Faire Rome, scheduled for October 3-5.

Sources: Arduino, Sharebot

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