This weekend saw the launch of the Blacksmith Genesis, the first ever compact 3D printer that also has scanning capabilities. That means that users will be able to scan an item, edit it on the computer, and then 3D print their own copy. (Yep, it’s a potential copyright nightmare.)
It’s made by Singapore-based start-up Blacksmith Group, which was formed at Nanyang Technological University. They raised money to complete the project on Indiegogo and they’ll start sending printers to donors in the next couple of weeks, having just unveiled it at the American Association Advancement of Science annual meeting in California.
The printer is lightweight at 6kg and comes with a 2-inch LCD display, Wi-Fi, an SD-card reader and a USB connection. It has a proprietary revolving scanning platform and Blacksmith says it can print items twice the size and twice as detailed as competing models, in half the time.
But the key selling point is its ease of use. Existing 3D printers require expert knowledge of the software for best results. The aim of this printer is to be straightforward enough for beginners to use. You can even monitor its progress on your smartphone and make corrections during the printing process if necessary.
Fang Kok Boon, the Blacksmith Group’s CEO, says, ‘We designed Blacksmith Genesis with the average hobbyist in mind. Most 3D printers sold on the market now are not really user-friendly as their 3D models and blueprints usually have to be designed from scratch on the computer.’
They hope that one day their printer will be as common as an inkjet. It might have to come down in price a bit first, though. For now, it costs £1430, plus around £98 for postage, but they are shipping worldwide.
Image: co-founder Dr Alex Pui with the Blacksmith Genesis, via Nanyang Technological University.