Supermarket chain ALDI has a 3D-printer as its special buy for 17 February.
It wasn’t very long ago when a home 3D-printer was the bleeding-edge stuff of Kickstarter campaigns and electronic hobbyists. Now, what, 2 or 3 years later, you can buy one in a supermarket.
The 3D-printer in question is made by Cocoon and will be sold by ALDI for $499. The Cocoon printer looks very much like it’s a re-branded version of the Wanhao printer which gets reasonable reviews. The fact that it uses a heated bed would concern me a little as the better printers generally don’t these days, but that’s not a big issue. It’s especially not a big issue for $499 from a supermarket which is really a zone where we’re talking mainstream hobbyist or even birthday present for an engineering-interested teenager.
That said, if you are on the market for a 3D-printer there are now many copies of the Makerbot 2 with dual extrusion heads (so you can print in two colours) available on Ebay for only another $100, which look to me to be better overall value although you don’t get the reassurance of a local supplier.
ALDI is also offering 1Kg rolls of PLA filament for $34 which a good price. It also has a 3D printing pen for $79 – which is cheap – although I’ve yet to see anyone do anything with one of those pens in the wild.
At the end of the day, ALDI’s actual offering is less interesting than the fact they are doing it at all. People keep saying that 3D-printing is one of the next-big-things. As the price-point lowers and the availability increases like this, that prediction seems increasingly realistic.