I’m reaching the age in my life where new technologies are beginning to baffle me.
I may have watched the Internet and digital media take over as I’ve grown up, but I can barely wrap my mind around the latest booming technology: 3D printing.
Trying to imagine how it works and what we’ll do with it makes me feel like an ape from the 80s.
Nonetheless, 3D printing is catching on, and it’s changing our world — fast.
Like any new technology, the real breaking point is for these machines to become valuable and affordable to the masses. We regular people have to not only see a need for a 3D printer, but also have to be able to afford it.
Both of these are becoming realities.
Last week, we saw this 24-year-old design student who 3D-printed his own Invisalign-style braces for just $60. That kind of personal use makes this technology extremely valuable to average consumers.
But he used an expensive, high-tech printer at his school, which costs thousands of dollars.
Now, we need to make the technology affordable.
What If Everyone Had Access to a 3D Printer?
Enter 28-year-old Rylan Grayston from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Simple curiosity and ingenuity fueled Grayston’s invention of a 3D printer that sells for just 100 Canadian dollars (US$75).
“I didn’t have enough money for a 3D printer that I wanted, so I just started thinking about how can I do this myself?” Grayston told CBC News.
Grayston has no formal training in engineering or computer science, CBC reports, but he’s been a “tinkerer” his whole life.
“[This printer] completely changes the game,” University of Regina computer science professor David Gerhard told CBC News.
“To be able to do it for a hundred bucks and basically with stuff you can find around your house, that’s the thing that changes everything.”
The printer, called Peachy Printer, took off as a Kickstarter project.
If you missed it, you can still order one!
For $100, you can get the Peachy Printer Kit, which includes all the parts you need to build the printer with snap-fit assembly. Estimated build time is one hour.
This kit also includes 100mL of resin (the “ink” of a 3D printer) — and you can buy additional resin for $60 per liter.
A fully assembled printer was available for pre-order for $400, but isn’t yet available for general sale.
An Open Source 3D Printer
Particularly notable is how Grayston seems to feel about being a so-called game-changer.
He’s not interested in becoming rich off the invention.
“All I want to do is invent,” Grayston told CBC News.
He said he used information from the Internet to create the printer, so he won’t be filing for a patent. And he’s going to post his plans online, in line with the brand’s moral principle to remain open source.
So if you’re a tinkerer yourself, you could forgo the $100 altogether, and create your own at-home 3D printer.
I’m really going to need to catch up with the times…
Your Turn: Would you buy your own $100 3D printer?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).