Over $625k raised for 3-D printer

 Over $625k raised for 3-D printer

Singapore start-up Pirate3D needed only 10 minutes to raise a targeted US$100,000 (S$125,000) when it launched its fund-raising campaign last Thursday on US crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

By Monday, the local pioneer in 3-D printing development exceeded that goal five times over when it raised more than US$500,000. The funds will be used to produce its first 3-D printer called The Buccaneer.

According to kicktraq.com, which tracks Kickstarter projects, Pirate3D has raised an average of US$102,738 daily over five days. At this rate, it is expected to raise about US$3.2 million when its campaign ends on June 29.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Roger Chang, 25, said: "The support shows that there is a market for an affordable everyday 3-D printer. Our goal is to put a 3-D printer in every home."

The funds have been raised through more than 1,340 buyers who each paid an average price of US$383 for the printer, which will be delivered from next February.

An interesting feature of The Buccaneer is a software programme to manage the printer through Android phones. There are software templates that can be used to print 3-D objects such as figurines, spoons, forks and bowls.

"If your door handle breaks, you can use the printer to print a handle which you can then glue to the door.

"We want to provide a good user experience. Our aim is to let people start printing 3-D objects the minute they unbox the printer without having to look at technical manuals," said Mr Chang.

Pirate3D will work with a local contract manufacturing company to make the printer.

Mr Chang co-founded the start-up last year with three others - Mr Tsang You Jun, 26, chief designer; Mr Brendan Goh, 26, who looks after finance and operations; and Adjunct Professor Neo Kok Beng, 48, from the National University of Singapore, who advises on business strategies.

Experts expect 3-D printing to be the next big thing in manufacturing, allowing users to make bespoke products on demand based on individual preferences.

Kickstarter is an American-based website that started in 2009 to provide a platform for people to support their favourite projects through fund-raising. In exchange, people get rewards ranging from products launched by start-ups to T-shirts.

chngkeg@sph.com.sg


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