3D printing these days is one of those technologies that is developing the fastest and is dragging a lot of public attention. But 3D printers remained expensive, hard to use and big machines, usually not affordable for common enthusiasts and amateur inventors. However, now situation is about to change as a new kind of 3D printer is introduced – Tiko is designed to be simple, accessible and dependable for a price of just $179.
Although being relatively cheap, compared with other 3D printers, Tiko offers much more than low price. One of the most important features is its unibody design. It means that all necessary rails are integrated into the body of the printer, which makes them perfectly aligned. It also makes it easy to manufacture, compact and safer. Unibody designed made it possible to make it enclosed prints are isolated from the outside environment, resulting in strong and consistent print results, even when the wind blows.
Even though 3D printers seem to be completely safe machines, the liquefier is very hot. In Tiko it is not only enclosed, but machine itself as an on-board accelerometer that automatically shuts the printer down if it is disturbed. So if a child, a pet or clumsy adult tips the printer, it is going to shut off, making it safer. The body of the printer is very strong, to provide stiffness to improve print quality as well as durability. However, it is light as well, weighing only 1.7 kg.
Despite its relatively small weight and dimensions, Tiko is quite capable 3D printer. It uses delta mechanism – three sets of arms moving in unison to control the movement of the print head. Unlike CNC-machine components found in other 3D printers, delta mechanism is cheaper and fits unibody structure better. It uses 1.75 mm filament on a standard 1 kg 165 mm diameter spool. Tiko can print object upt to 125 mm. in diameter. However, creators of this printer wanted to maximise the space so unlike other delta 3D printers, Tiko can print in the corners for those extra-long prints. Print bed is flexible to allow for easy removal of the printed objects – just by twisting the print bed they get unstuck easily.
Tiko 3D printer is completely wireless. It uses cloud technology so that users could print from anywhere and from any device. However, Tiko can make its own wireless access point for direct operations. Software is developed to be user-friendly, simple to use and leaving only a few straightforward settings. But how can such an advanced printer cost so little?
Creators of Tiko developed direct-drive system in which the motors are mounted onto carriages that drive themselves directly along the rails. They also created custom electronics. Tiko’s high-efficiency liquefier and motors use only a fraction of the energy required by most 3D printers, which allowed for using smaller and less expensive electronic components and a standard “brick” power adapter instead of a bulky PSU, which further reduced costs.
Low cost, accessibility and cutting-edge technologies already made Tiko a very attractive product in the market for hobbyist inventors and professionals, who use 3D printers. Currently its Kickstarter page has even 1,574 % of its original $100,000 goal funded. It shows that affordable technologies are interesting for people and that 3D printers can find a place in every home.