Robo's smart new 3D printer makes the technology more affordable and easy to use

Alexandra Laird

While 3D printing is enjoying its time under the sun, most mainstream consumers are still put off by the price and size of the printers.

In theory, having a 3D printer at home is great for artists, designers, and creators looking to make and customize 3D models. Execution-wise however, the machines can be difficult to use and the printing process itself is often complex.

SEE ALSO: 3D printers are never going to be a thing

One company, Robo, hopes to straighten out some of the technical issues and continues to make strides towards affordable, but also smart and easy-to-use 3D printing technology and supporting accessories: "simplifying the path to every print." 

They launched a previously successful Kickstarter campaign for the Robo 3D R1, their first 3D printer. Unlike other early models, like the Makerbot Replicator 2, the R1 received glowing reviews on 3D hubs, a platform for all things 3D printing, for its great value and kick initial set-up. One owner said of the printer: "The printer is great and prints fairly well out of the box, with a bit of open source improvements and some care it can become a great and reliable printer."

Now, Robo's more recent Kickstarter campaign releases the Robo C2 and the Robo R2 that have been redesigned and reimagined. 

Both new devices are affordable and make it possible to the newest in smart, efficient desktop 3D printing tech for under $1,200. The larger R2 goes for $1099 and $599 for the somewhat smaller C2 on Kickstarter. Back in 2014, the price for basic, at-home 3D printers would have been thousands of dollars. 

SEE ALSO: MakerBot unveils first new 3D printers since 2014

Among some of the newer features are higher printing speed to shorten the wait time for creation, an interactive touchscreen monitor, and wireless printing from a mobile device via Robo App.

Image: Kickstarter

Zooming out into the world of 3D printing, another competing company, Makerbot, was one of the first companies indulge the public imagination and aid in the shift towards "open source" material production by making 3D printing hardware and knowledge more accessible. With the right resources, printing could become very useful not only for DIY-ers at home, but also in classrooms. 

Because having a 3D printer requires a large initial investment, and extensive user knowledge on how to maintain and fix the device, more research will still be required for the new Robo device. It is necessary for these companies to find a way to reduce the price of their printers, while also finding a way to simplify the process of printing, if they want to appeal to a more mainstream market. And further research is necessary to ensure these printers become more affordable and easier to use. 

Even with an online community of users sharing their knowledge and tools, 3D printing, as of now, most 3D printers are still a bit too complicated for the masses. 

There is still a long way to go in order to fully transition this printing technology into the mainstream. The hope is that 3D will only continue to become more efficient, affordable and simplified for those with the desire and vision to create.