Our MakerBot Thing-O-Matic is a powerful piece of technology, but it's clearly an enthusiast product. The $1,300 price for the kit, complexity of assembly, and software know-how needed to operate it puts it out of reach for most users. Not to mention it can be damn difficult and frustrating to troubleshoot. There are entry-level CNC devices available, such as the Egg-Bot, but these have limited functionality and are more science project than practical appliance. But we believe that CNC is destined for the home, and we may be one step closer to that future with the Origo, a 3D printer designed for kids.
It's just a prototype for now, but here's why the Origo has potential.
Origo was conceptualized by Artur Tchoukanov, a designer who worked at Shapeways and designed products for Honeywell before starting Origo. The goals for the device are ambitious but achievable: it needs to be easy enough for a 10-year-old to use, reliable, and finally, affordable. Tchoukanov built a prototype (using, of course, a CNC 3D printing service) that he believes achieves those goals. Additionally, the 3D models are apparently really easy to design. Origo accepts models crafted with the browser-based 3DTin, which Tchoukanov tested with a group of 10-year-olds at a TEDxKids workshop. The impressive results convinced Origo's founders that ease of use, at least from the software side, wouldn't be a hurdle to getting Origo working in the hands of kids.
The plan is for Origo to be sold for "the price of three Xbox 360s", which puts it between $500 and $1000. That's still fairly expensive for mainstream adoption, but the appeal of easy operation, low maintenance, and reusable print materials is a move in the right direction.
Watch the video below to get a sense of what the designers of Origo envision for the future of home CNC.