What we old investors will find astonishing is how right young Misters Schechter, Kovalev, Nemenov and Sokolov are: Deltaprintr is part of a high pile of 3-D printer makers rendering up in this sector. According to Hayden, Idaho-based sector analysis shop 3D Printer World, 3-D printer-maker fundraising is running at a frenzied pace. Cambridge, Mass.-based Formlabs, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Pirate3D and Springville, Utah-based Invent-A-Part raised more than a combined $4.3 million from social fundraising platform Kickstarter as of mid-2013. And those are just three of dozens of such printer firms tracked by the firm. This intense social fundraising has begat yet more 3-D printers. Stamford, Conn.-based Zeepro announced last week that its Zim printer raised more than $347,000 on Kickstarter. Brooklyn-based gMax raised in excess of $129,000. All of these models -- which are mostly still in pre-order, by the way -- compete with a generation of already established, privately held 3-D companies. There's Brooklyn's own Solidoodle, which makes a darn impressive printer. I liked what I saw in units from New Jersey's 3DMonstr, Chanhassen, Minn.-based Afinia, Pasadena, Calif.-based Deezmaker and Alpharetta, Ga.-based Hyrel. priced its recent IPO to raise north of $64.5 million for the company. The fourth dimension of 3-D printing: Discounting
Call it youthful bravado -- or cold cunning -- but this mounting 3-D printer horde doesn't scare Schechter one bit. The young entrepreneur says he's got close to 1,700 potential customers signed up on his website and he expects he can sell north of 200 units from his initial crowdfunding round later this year. He is betting that Deltaprintr will compete effectively by offering high quality at low prices. His unit will go for well below $500, or about half the cost of a similar model from MakerBot. And if investors have the courage to look, such profit-margin-sucking discounting is rapidly finding a foothold in 3-D printers. Little Rock, Ark.-based QU-BD just raised more than $56,000 on Kickstarter for a 3-D printer that cost just $200. And a model from Hyrel offers legit industrial-grade 3-D additive manufacturing for less than $2,000. Schecter's plan is to target the passionate student, say from ages 14 to 25. But Schechter is firm that competition will only increase. "I believe next year a major patent will expire. And there will be an explosion of yet more printers on Kickstarter," he said. "What you learn studying all these printers is, there will be always something that pops up." "We hope for the best, but prepare for the worst."