With 3D printers becoming more commonplace, it was maybe just a matter of time before they threatened crayons and Lego as favorite playthings for the creative child. At the forefront of this intersection of education, technology and playtime is the manufacturing company Mission Street Manufacturing, whose Printeer 3D printer promises to bridge the gap between technical know-how and your child's imagination.
While 3D printers are becoming cheaper and more consumer friendly, they still typically involve some expertise in computer aided design. The team behind Printeer is looking to eliminate the need for these advanced technical skills by developing simplified design software. So simple, in fact, that you can apparently learn to use it in around 30 seconds.
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All that is required is the Printeer, an iPad and a Wi-Fi connection. By installing the Draw app (iOS only), kids can sketch out objects on-screen using a finger, push print and then watch Printeer create it for them. In addition to the basic drawing app, the company says it is developing further software to enable more complex designs. It also says that Printeer can be loaded with 3D print files from a computer, effectively functioning as a regular 3D printer.
Further to the software and user experience, Mission Street Manufacturing has also gone to lengths to make Printeer aesthetically appealing to children. The motors, pulleys, belts and sliders are colored and housed in a clear casing so kids can see how they work together to bring their creations to life. The entire printer measures 16 x 9 x 12 in (40 x 23 x 30 cm), uses 1.75 mm PLA plastic filament and features a removable bed, so finished objects can be easily retrieved.
The California-based start up has developed prototypes and is now looking to raise funds on Kickstarter to scale up production. At the time of writing, pledges of US$549 are available and will put you in line for a Printeer in one of four colors, the options to be confirmed post-pledge via email if the funding goal is reached. Shipping is slated for October.
You can hear from the brains behind Printeer in the video below.