May 11, 2016 | By Alec

With the cost of 3D printers dropping dramatically, it’s becoming increasingly important for manufacturers to differentiate themselves in an unstable market. Words like user-friendliness and accessibility are now quickly thrown around, but what does that even mean? Often it refers to little more than a few more automated steps or some stripped-down software. But the new Anvil 3D printer, which has just hit Kickstarter, could have the power to redefine those words. Featuring an almost completely automated Wi-Fi-based 3D printing process, a greatly simplified filament loading system and custom design software as accessible as Legos, it’s a truly user-friendly desktop machine. What’s more, its available for as little as $199.

This interesting 3D printer is the brainchild of Shanghai-based technology company Anvil Electronic Technology, who also have a branch in Madison, WI. The startup was founded back in 2014 by Shawn Don, who previously worked at a company specializing in machine design and product development. Fully devoting himself to the 3D printing industry, his main goal was to democratize the technology to make it available to users of every skill level. This was reiterated by Anvil Technology spokesperson Tom Sun. “We’re aware that there are other 3D printers out there – we’re just trying to simplify the process so that everyone can see their ideas brought to life,” he said.

And they came up with an impressive 3D printer. While user-friendliness is often an excuse for stripping a 3D printer bare, Anvil instead does its best to accommodate all users – even those with so little engineering experience that they are scared off by loading up a roll of filament. This is realized by a cartridge filament loading system, that is almost completely plug-and-play. “Our printer uses auto-loading mechanics to feed filament directly into the extruder, eliminating the need to manually insert the feedstock into the printer's hotend,” they say. Simply insert a cartridge of Anvil PLA, ABS or PC filament and you’re good to go. Special cartridges for third-party materials are also available.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Anvil 3D Printer contains just one single button to avoid user confusion or errors. It is also run by a cloud server to allow long distance 3D printing. “Send print commands wherever you are, and it will start printing automatically as long as you've logged into the cloud account,” they say. The futuristic desktop design even makes print removal easier by relying on just three pillars, instead of four.

The Anvil is also supported by an unintimidating software interface that can be mastered with very little effort. To accommodate all users, five different skill level grades are available. Does the very notion of setting up the 3D printer parameters scare you? Then the most accessible grade takes care of everything. The simplistic user interface can thus be upgraded as you become more and more familiar with 3D printing. Automatic Wi-Fi connection is integrated into the Anvil setup as well to accommodate one-button 3D printing.

Never used CAD software before? No problem. The Anvil also comes with a massive library of models and kits. Simply choose what you want and press print. Or modify the designs on your iPad. “Makers and non-makers can share their designs and save them to the cloud for others to view and print,” its developers say.

But would you like to try your hand at design anyway? Then the Anvil tablet app provides a very accessible design environment that can be as difficult as you want it to be. “Our app is a simple modeling software that makes it easy for you to create your design. Have you ever built something out of Legos? Then you have the skills to use our app! If you're not feeling especially creative, you can simply use one of our pre-designed templates,” they argue. It also contains chatting and sharing options.

Their intentions are clear: the Anvil 3D printer is so accessible, even kids can operate it. Though depending on their age and experience, supervision is advised. But it’s also a remarkably affordable 3D printer. Expected to be marketed at around $350, it is definitely a competitor for the cheapest 3D printers around. Not bad for a 3D printer with a build platform of 165 x 174 x 165 mm and five different layer resolution options (25, 50, 100, 200 or 300 microns).

But before that can be realized, Anvil has turned to Kickstarter to help offset their manufacturing and shipping costs. “By bringing the Anvil 3D printer to Kickstarter, we have the ability to offer everyone the opportunity to become a part of the maker community for less than the price of a smartphone,” Sun said. As an extra incentive, they are bringing their super early bird 3D printers to you for as little as $199, making it a very tantalizing option indeed. While they are seeking to raise the ambitious sum of $100,000, this should not be a problem at current pledging rates. At the time of writing, they have already gathered nearly $25,000 with another four weeks to go. This could become another huge 3D printer Kickstarter success. For more info, check out their campaign here.



Posted in 3D Printer



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Shaun lamont wrote at 6/3/2016 6:37:31 AM:

Kickstarter 3d Printer from China... Just burn your cash in a bin... You'll never see the product

stevet wrote at 5/12/2016 8:23:29 PM:

Why would anyone gamble on a project like this which is so similar to so many proven printers???

Paucus wrote at 5/12/2016 2:19:08 AM:

25 micron layers?

3Dman wrote at 5/11/2016 7:02:24 PM:

These guus should ask for a donation instead of wasting time to make this kind of thing again and again.

John Pickens wrote at 5/11/2016 5:13:18 PM:

Their filament cartridge. $30 per pound, $66 per kilogram. Run Away!!!

Anja wrote at 5/11/2016 3:20:14 PM:

@Kestrel: $199 is its price for Kickstarter backers (super early bird).

Kestrel wrote at 5/11/2016 1:26:52 PM:

The headline says $199 printer, the graphic in the video states $299.. surely one is incorrect

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