$299 3D printer achieves Kickstarter goal in minutes

M3D printer Image copyright Other
Image caption The 'cheap' M3D printer may be the first one to appeal to a mass market

An ultra-cheap 3D printer has hit its Kickstarter goal in just 11 minutes, with some lauding it as the first mass market version of the technology.

Makers M3D have currently raised over $1m (£597,000) well ahead of their $50,000 target with 28 days to go.

Early backers will get the machine for just $199 and other backers can pledge as little as $299.

Dubbed Micro, it comes with easy-to-use software that allows users to search, drag and drop objects to print.

Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that has breathed life into a range of technology projects, including the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, which was subsequently bought by Facebook for $2bn.

'Exciting thing'

At just 7.3in (18.5cm) square and weighing 1kg (2.2lbs), the device will be easy to move around. It can be used with Windows, Mac or Linux.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Users can choose a design to make.

It comes with software that allows users to search and browse objects online. Once they have picked something they would like to print they drag it into the printer and hit print.

"It's our goal to make the Micro accessible to everyday users," reads the pitch on Kickstarter.

The tagline on its Kickstarter page calls it "the first truly consumer 3D printer".

Some believe that it could be a game changer.

"Along with the market entry of New Kinpo I think it's one of the most interesting things to happen in desktop 3D printing," said expert Joris Peels.

"New price points and lower pricing will be key in getting people to buy a 3D printer. Not many people can afford to pay $2,000 for a printer but many more can try one for $500 or $300," he added.

The team hope to be able to start shipping the machines in August.

While those supporting the device on Kickstarter will get it for $299 or below, a retail price has not yet been set although it is expected to be "within the same price bracket" according to a company spokeswoman.

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