There's no denying that 3D printers are cool. However, they're not exactly easy to use for kids -- not unless Junior has a knack for modelling software, anyway. If Mission Street Manufacturing's Printeer hits its crowdfunding goal, though, children will have a 3D printer they can truly call their own. All you need to create a plastic masterpiece with Printeer is an iPad and a basic ability to draw. There's no scary-looking CAD programs or other intermediary tools. The machinery itself is also friendly to young creators, with both an easily removable build platform and a transparent shell that shows how all the parts work together. The company hopes that schools will use it to teach the basics of design and engineering to kids who might otherwise wait years to get started.
You'll have to act quickly if you want to get a Printeer as soon as possible. Right now, Mission Street is offering a limited batch of early units to those who pledge at least $549; if you're one of those precious few, you'll have a printer in your hands around October. After that, you'll likely have to sit tight until sometime after November, when production kicks into high gear. With that said, your patience may pay off if Printeer lives up to its billing -- it promises to make 3D printing appealing to a much wider (and much younger) audience.