Fargo 3D Printing, a startup that specialises in 3D printer sales and services, has started accepting bitcoin payments and to mark the occasion it’s offering a 5% discount on all items purchased.
The company specialises in MakerBot printers and scanners and, as anyone familiar with 3D printers will tell you, they don’t come cheap.
MakerBot is one of the leading names in this emerging industry and its Replicator series printers are practically the industry standard, although some 3D systems fans might beg to differ.
The MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer is the company’s first 5th generation 3D printer and Fargo is selling it at $2,899, which is the official MSRP on the MakerBot online store.
Fargo also offers other Replicator models, as well as 3D scanners.
Of course, to actually print something you’ll also need filament and that doesn’t come cheap, either, with prices starting at $43 per 1kg spool.
Fargo's prices appear to be in line with what you would get if you dealt directly with Makerbot, so the 5% bitcoin discount sounds like an interesting deal, if you consider the cost of a mid-range MakerBot printer and a supply of filament.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, or 'additive manufacturing' is the process of creating 3D objects by depositing layers of material one on top of the other. A 3D printable computer file guides the print head as the layers are built up.
Think of it as an office inkjet printer on steroids, but instead of laying ink over a 2D surface, layers of filament accrue vertically to form a holdable, usable object.
Many analysts believe additive manufacturing could lead to the next industrial revolution, as the technology can be used with a huge range of materials.
Even consumer-oriented models can deliver high resolution prints and can be used for rapid prototyping and other quite serious applications by small businesses.
Professional printers are in a league of their own. They tend to cost more than the average home, are designed with specific industrial applications in mind and use a range of different printing techniques and materials.
For example, a laser micro-sintering printer can turn titanium powder into a jet fuel nozzle used in a turbofan engine, while other industrial printers can print chocolate cake icing, or even Barilla pasta.
Fargo’s John Schneider told CoinDesk that the discount will be available for a week or so. He added that the site got more traffic following the announcement, but there have not been many purchases as yet.
Since geeks tend to like disruptive cutting-edge technologies – of which both 3D printing and digital currencies are good examples – Fargo may find a natural customer base with the bitcoin crowd it is now trying to draw.
Perhaps the two technologies could even be combined: printed physical coins with 3D QR codes sound like an interesting start.
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