The Portabee is one of the first 3D printers that will be affordable to a wider public. Where you have to pay several thousands of euros for regular 3D printers, the Portabee is priced at $500 (about €375). This kind of pricing makes 3D printers a lot more affordable and appealing to the general public instead of remaining nerdy hardware — something that you could call a little break-through.
But is there a catch here? Well, not really but you get what you pay for. The Portabee is able to deliver prints in remarkably smaller sizes than other (but more expensive) 3D printers. And another thing is, the Portabee has no case. According to its designer, Daniel Warner, this has been done to improve the portability of the printer. Its portability is also a big plus, the printer weighs slightly less than 3 kilograms, which makes it one of the lightest 3D printers on the market. According to Warner, “it is easily collapsible in a matter of seconds and fits into a laptop bag”.
“An artist can walk into her favourite cafe, suddenly get in a creative mood, whip out the Portabee and a laptop and start designing something and print it out, all while sipping her usual cuppa and enjoying some cheesecake.”
Built on nearly a decade of RepRap heritage, the Portabee might be that one 3D printer that will break open the market for affordable mass consumer 3D printers (at least it tries). Nevertheless, let’s hope its raw looks won’t scare off potential customers…