There’s plenty of cool-looking 3D printers on the market for consumers, but they all share similar characteristics: They’re big, bulky boxes with price points that make them more suitable for school labs than for tinkering with in your garage or working on in your shop. The Tiko is a Kickstarter project that wants to create a 3D printer that consumers can really afford, with a base cost of only $179. Remember when printers like the Canon Pixma MG7720 were all 2D? So Which Best Printer for Chromebook Is Right For You?
The Kickstarter was wildly successful, so there seems to be at least some demand in the market for a 3D printer that the average consumer can afford. But what exactly do you get?
Tiko is fairly minimalistic – you can tell that the printer tries to cut expenses wherever possible. It’s a water tower-like cylinder with space at the bottom for extruding, and that’s about it. It uses a delta 3D printer with three different moving arms to control the printing process according to your qualifications. According to the creators, the printer is accurate enough to printer at a 50 micron resolution, so you can get some real detail if you are willing to work at it. The modeling software is available via browser, which makes it very easy to use on pretty much any computer without downloading new engineering software.
The printer has a unibody, enclosed design that may make it easier to use in a garage instead of a lab. However, the printer can create objects as broad as 169mm and as high as 125mm. That may not be enough to recreate your favorite vase, but it is enough to print bits and parts for tinkering, or components for your latest invention, which is why Tiko is aimed at the amateur inventor crowd.
But what about materials? Tiko uses a non-proprietary 1.75mm filament, so as long as you get the sizes right you can experiment with a variety of filament types – however, you’re still bound by the basic plastic materials that most consumer 3D printers use, so don’t get too excited about experimenting in this direction.