Business Beyond Tomorrow

3-D printing on the cheap

Making 3-D printers affordable

Three dimensional printing doesn't require thousands of dollars or a trip to a MakerBot store. Hobbyists and even businesses are using printers that cost a few hundred dollars to print 3-D objects.

Staten Island, New York-based small business Deltaprintr sells 3-D printer kits that, in conjunction with free software, allow users to build toys and other objects with layers upon layers of heated plastic.

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Deltaprintr owners tend to be students, schools and hobbyists, CEO and founder Shai Schechter said in an interview with CNBC.

The printers are sold as an unassembled kit for $499 and an assembled 3-D printer for $685. By comparison, the price of the MakerBot Mini 3-D printer is $1,375.

A build-it-yourself 3-D printer made by Deltaprintr prints a three-dimensional object made of plastic.
Althea Chang | CNBC

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To keep costs low, some parts of the Deltaprintr kit, like bearings, screws and other small components, are bought off the shelf, and other parts that need to be laser-cut, like wood and acrylic, are custom-made in-house, Schechter said.

"I used to take electronics apart in my house in order to understand how things worked, Schechter said. "And that's what we're focused on ... to make a product that people won't just use but they will understand how it works."

Deltaprintrs only print plastic objects, according to Schechter, using strands of plastic filament priced at $35 for a 2.2-pound spool.