About this project
We believe kids are the most creative people on the planet...
...which is why we're bringing the most empowering creation technology to them!
Toys such as Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Legos, and K'nex have been at the center of children's playrooms for generations. But what about now? In a digital age, when technology skills are some of the most important a child can learn, is there a way to bridge the gap between the screen and the physical world? Now there is. 3D printing is tailor-made for today's curious, tech-savvy kids. And that's why we've made Printeer.
Printeer is for today's kids, tomorrow's engineers & designers
Unlike other 3D printers, using Printeer doesn't require advanced technical or engineering skills. For starters, you don't need to learn CAD (computer aided design) software, a professional-grade tool that is required to generate the 3D designs used by other 3D printers.
Printeer design software is different in the following ways:
- It runs on iPad, a platform most kids are more comfortable with than a PC.
- It can be learned in about 30 seconds.
- It doesn't require any intermediate steps between design and 3D printing.
No PC, no complex software, no fancy configuration settings.
Just touch the "print" button and watch it go.
Perfect for the home, classroom, and beyond
Printeer is easy to use, fun for people of all ages, and safe for children with adult supervision. Printeer is perfect for:
- Homes with elementary, middle, or high-school aged children
- Science, art, math, or technology classrooms
- Community centers or libraries
- Science, art, or children's museums
- Scouting troops
- Summer camps
- After school programs or daycares
- Your next family gathering
We are already working with schools and educators
Educators understand the importance of technology skills, and so do we. We've already partnered with local schools in California to bring Printeer to after-school programs and in-classroom demos. As a local junior high principal recently told us, "Learning technology is a matter of exposure." All kids can learn technology, and the first step is gaining access to that technology.
Our hope is that through this Kickstarter campaign, Printeers will find their ways into schools we've never heard of, in towns and cities across the country. We are committed to bringing this technology into the classroom and eager to engage with passionate parents and educators to make it happen.
Printeer is designed to be both safe and educational
We designed Printeer from the ground up for kids and K-12 education:
- A clear case prevents accidental contact with heated or moving parts.
- A removable build platform allows finished parts to be easily removed.
- Printeer uses PLA plastic filament, which is non-toxic and emits about 1/10th the ultra-fine particles of ABS plastic filament. (The same particulate emission as cooking food on low heat.)
- Moving parts are visible so that kids can see how motors, pulleys, belts, and sliders work together to move a complex machine.
Printeer technical specs
- Exterior dimensions: 16 inch (406 mm) wide x 9 inch (229 mm) deep x 12 inch (305 mm) high
- Build volume: 6 inch (150 mm) wide x 4 inch (100 mm) deep x 5 inch (125 mm) high
- Material: PLA plastic 1.75 mm filament
- Weight: 12 lbs (5.5 kg)
- Fully enclosed
- Removable print bed
- Auto bed leveling
- Wireless access
- Spool capacity: 1 lb (0.45 kg) of filament
- Built using a variety of open-source software & hardware
We are ready to begin mass-producing Printeer immediately upon reaching our funding goal. While our production space may look like a garage from the outside, it is a bona fide miniature factory on the inside. Printeer is made in 15 assembly stations, each color-coded and mapped with clear inputs and outputs. Our assembly process uses lean manufacturing methods and the Kanban logistics systems, originally pioneered by Toyota, to minimize waste and ensure efficient use of resources. We are serious about producing high quality products, and that begins with professionalism and attention to detail in our manufacturing.
Printeer is made by Mission Street Manufacturing, a small startup based in Santa Barbara, California. Our co-founders, Brian and Gabe, are former graduate students at MIT and University of Chicago, who set aside their graduate studies to bring to life their vision of accessible, educational 3D printing. Since then, two full-time engineers and a dozen part-time interns have joined the team to make Printeer what it is today.
While Printeer is Brian and Gabe's first consumer product, it is far from their first joint venture. The duo met in 6th grade and were science project partners for two year-long, award-winning projects in middle and high school. Gabe and Brian believe that Printeer is the ultimate tool for the curious and creative kids they used to be.
Full-time team members:
- Brian Jaffe - BSE Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University. MBA candidate (on leave of absence), MIT. Former Lieutenant, United States Navy.
- Gabe Rosenhouse - BA Mathematics, University of Chicago. PhD candidate in Neuroscience, University of Chicago.
- Joe Kimmel - BA Computer Science, Oberlin College. BM Music Composition, Oberlin Conservatory. MS Neuroscience, University of Chicago. Former software engineer, Narrative Science.
- Joe Marino - BS, MS (graduating June 2014) Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
World's best interns (past & present):
- Nathan H - Software
- John X - Software
- Tai R - Software
- Kira G - Software
- Mischa LN - Software
- Ilona B - Software
- Nora H - Software
- Claude B - Business Development
- Jess T - Marketing
- Chris M - Hardware
- Alex H - Hardware
- Brianna D - Hardware
- Kalina B - Hardware
- Kelly R - Hardware
- Giulia C - Hardware
It all starts here in our garage
We aim to bring 3D printing to kids and schools across the globe. We are also committed to smart, sustainable growth. This is why we plan to make our first production run right here in our garage, where we can maintain a tight feedback loop between engineering and manufacturing. We sleep fifty feet from our production line. When you're that close to a product, you can't help but bring 100% of your passion into making it right.
Why we need you
We are a small team with a large vision, and we need your help to make it a reality. By joining us in this endeavor - by supporting this project, spreading the word, reaching out with new ideas, and introducing us to new partners - together we can bring 3D printing to a whole new generation of creative people. We are honored by and grateful for all your support.
Risks and challenges
We have worked from day one to manage our risks and challenges and to bring our users a high quality, simple-to-use product that inspires curiosity and innovation. Here are our main challenges and our plans to address them.
Over 60 different components and raw materials go into Printeer, and we have sourced these from dozens of different suppliers. We work closely with our key suppliers in order to test sample components, develop relationships, and ensure that each Printeer works every single time. Once we know how many units we'll be making to fulfill our Kickstarter campaign, we'll move quickly to order and test our components to avoid unforeseen delays.
Traditional 3D printers require the user to jump through many hoops to design and make something ready for 3D printing. Our software performs these tedious steps for you in the cloud. To ensure reliability, we're building a robust backend system that tracks each print job, reboots a server or restarts a process when necessary, and balances demand between different servers to ensure fast service. As more and more people use Printeer, we will make continuous improvements to our backend software to ensure that our servers are always ready when you want to 3D print.
From the beginning, we have set out to make Printeer a truly plug-and-play device. However, despite all our work in this area, not every Printeer will run perfectly, and that is why your honest feedback is so critical to us. If something doesn't work right, we want to hear from you so that we can find the cause of and fix any shortcomings. We are committed to addressing any unforeseen glitches and to keeping the Printeer experience simple and fun for you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
At the moment there is only one app, which we call "draw" and is featured in the video and pictures above. However, we are in the process of developing several more apps that can create more complex 3D shapes, and we aim to have at least some of them done before we ship our Kickstarter Printeers this fall. Our focus will always be on making 3D design simple and fun, but we also want to allow many more kinds of shapes to be made on Printeer apps.
The Printeer app that runs on iPad is self-contained, meaning you cannot load other 3D designs into it. However, every Printeer can also be accessed by a PC using the open source project Octoprint. With Octoprint running in a web browser on a PC, you can upload any sliced 3D file, such as an .STL designed in Solidworks or downloaded from Thingiverse. In this way, Printeer can 3D print the same files as any other 3D printer.
At this time, our design software only works on iPad. The reason behind this is simply that we do not have enough software developers to develop a great experience for both iOS and Android at the same time. In the United States, most schools are choosing iPad over Android, and that's why we decided to develop for iOS.
We will use the lowest cost shipper from Santa Barbara to wherever you are. When spools and packaging are included, we estimate the total package will weigh about 15 pounds. A quick estimate from Santa Barbara to New York City with UPS Ground is approximately $40. Our goal is to keep all domestic shipping at or below this cost. We also recognize that many of our backers are international. These shipping rates are more difficult to estimate, but we will work with you to find the lowest cost option for your country.
Printeer uses 1.75 PLA filament, the exact same filament as many other consumer-grade 3D printers. Printeer uses a custom-sized 1-pound spool that fits inside a small compartment on the right side of the 3D printer. Replacement spools will be sold for around $22 (we are still finalizing our costs). The more do-it-yourself user can also rewind his or her own spool with bulk filament ordered elsewhere.
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