Cheap & Cheerful

Everything We Know about 101Hero, the $49 3D Printer


ALL3DP interviews 101Hero CEO Paul Keung about his $49 dollar Kickstarter 3D Printer. When it comes to 3D printing, how cheap is too cheap?

The prices of 3D printers keep tumbling ever lower. Currently on Kickstarter is the 101Hero, a 3D printer offered to early bird backers for the low, looooooow price of $49. And after those were snapped up, the entry level pledge is still only $79.

101Hero says they want to give everyone a chance to dream and design. According to their pitch, getting started is as easy as 1-2-3. All you need to do is to insert the memory card, press the button, and sit back as your custom creations are fabricated.

The benefit of having such a cheap 3D printer, undeniably, would be wider access to this exciting technology. But is it possible to deliver a quality product at this price point? All3DP spoke to 101Hero CEO Paul Keung to find out.

Skeptical about 101Hero? Read on…

After reaching their Kickstarter goal of $20,000 in just twelve hours, Keung is confident he can deliver his 3D printer on time. “Our current product-line could manufacture about 5000 units per month,” he says. “We will try to deliver the 3D printer to our backers before Christmas.”

When asked about the inspiration behind the printer, he said: “Actually, at first, we started to make a 3D printer like other companies do. And we also like open-source hardware, especially, Raspberry Pi. The tiny-little thing has great power. But then we decided to make a more affordable and easy to use 3D printer.”

And impressively enough, the team has been working on the 101Hero design since 2013. Keung explained: “We tried lots of structure and motor driving systems to find a way to make it low cost.”

But could it be a replacement for more high-end 3D printers? “Well, it depends, because we prefer to present 101Hero 3D Printer as a toy or a starter kit,” explains Keung. “The Makerbot of course could print high quality objects faster than us. So if our user thinks they need more powerful tools like the Ultimaker 2 or the Form 2, they’ll have to buy them then.”

Keung explained how the company is able to offer such an dramatic price point: “Our goal is let anyone try out a 3D Printer, so we are trying to control our cost and profit and pull down the barriers to entry. And due to our design, we can control the cost so we could offer a price like this.”

Could it be that this printer is also too good to be true? After the Peachy Printer scandal, a Kickstarter campaign that promised much but delivered little, observers of 101Hero are rather sceptical that this isn’t more of the same. “We did not look much on Peachy Printer,” says Keung. “But we did spend a lot of time to studying the case of 3Doodler.”

Although the target for these printers is both children and “newbies to 3D printing” who don’t want to spend hundreds simply to try out a 3D printer, it still seems that everyone is getting on-board. Currently, the campaign has raised $209,157 dollars, smashing their original target by a factor of 10.