Back in summer 2015, I was a Kickstarter backer of the highly successful BigBox 3D project, and it's also my first and only 3D printer thus far.
The BigBox 3D project was a project created in collaboration between BigBox and E3D, and if you know anything about 3D printing, then you'll have undoubtedly heard of the British company E3D. It was their commitment to the project that sold me on this Kickstarter, even though I was also looking at similar, cheaper projects from other companies.
That certainly was a worthy gamble - the other contenders included:
The now doomed Lorei Uno / Duo which was originally branded as Genesis and came with some hard-to-believe superlatives like "best ever" and "easy to use". It looked good from the description and even had some pictures of a printer that looked complete and ready for production.
However, it has ended up a typical story of an over-enthusiastic team with idealistic dreams with a lack of experience and a swathe of naivety. One misfortune after another, and it is now in a state of damage limitation.
They have managed, however, to send a few printers out to some lucky backers, and are still attempting to make something work, but with a lack of money, mounting debts, and angry horde of investers demanding refunds, it seems incredibly unlikely that it will survive mucn longer.
Tiko is a really interesting project. A compact, enclosed, delta printer which aimed for a low price, and low tech knowledge. It did sound too good to be true, but the design was really compelling. Again the team are enthusiastic, and are still committed to make something work. I still believe that if they had sufficient support, that they could make something work, but the lack of profit in a saturated (3D printing is still niche, although many companies are still attempting to turn it in to a household product), highly competitive market is a huge hurdle.
Unlike the other two projects, the BigBox actually sent their printers out to all backers, and still to this day has a passionate and lively community. Also, even though BigBox 3D has now disbanded as a company, the creator is still employed by E3D and actively working on BigBox 3D upgrades and enhancements.
It is certainly a benefit of open source software, and an open design that anyone can design improvements, and anyone could actually source the materials and build one on their own - mostly off-the-shelf components and some laser-cut and 3D printed parts.
I spent a couple of months (couple of hours per evening) building my BigBox, and below are a sequence of some pictures of the build process: constructing the frame, mounting components, wiring and a few of the first prints.