Apr. 19, 2015 | By Alec

While the community of 3D printers is filled with interesting and promising start-ups that all promise to produce new and exciting hardware, most just develop decent 3D printers that function or look slightly differently from most others. But there are some real gems out there as well, such as the Mobium Solutions start-up founded by two Penn State students. Instead of developing a new 3D printer or printhead, they have developed the ECHOdrive – an interesting add-on to most 3D printers that will make removing objects from printbeds easier than ever and will even enable you to automatically 3D print multiple objects without needing to intervene between each session.

Mobium Solutions has been founded by Justin Keenan and Kevin Paroda, two sophomore students at Penn State, who also happen to be roommates. Justin is currently majoring in both Electrical Engineering and Physics, while Kevin is studying Biomedical Engineering – including nanomaterials and bio 3D printing. Together, the two entrepreneurs have developed this interesting add-on aimed at small businesses, private makers and schools.

Justin (left) and Kevin (right).

As the duo explains on Penn State’s website, their product essentially seeks to make 3D printing as easy as 2D printing something on paper. While removing 3D printed objects from the printbed can be quite a hassle (and sometimes even damages the entire project), they have come up with a clever solution to automatically remove the print and start on the following piece.

So how does this ECHOdrive work? Well its essentially an automated plastic sheet spool that can be installed on about 70% of desktop 3D printers. ‘Much like a roll of paper towels, plastic is pulled down from the spool onto the platform and vacuumed down tightly. The 3D object is then printed, the vacuum releases, and the process repeats, rolling the plastic out of the way with the 3D print attached in order for the next item to be made,’ they explain. ‘

To ensure this process is fully automated, they have written up a web-based program to which users can upload their files. These are then formed into a queue for your 3D printer and 3D printed on plastic sheets in that order. And as the software is also programmed to recognize typical malfunctions such as a nozzle jam (in which case it restarts the print), you don’t even have to be in the room to 3D print multiple objects. ‘ECHOdrive clears your build plate and starts new prints without ever needing human intervention. Print from anywhere through our online GUI, as many times as you’d like,’ they write.

This, the pair argues, makes their ECHOdrive perfect for science teachers busy teaching and small businesses with multiple employees but only a single 3D printer. ‘We allow you to print over the network, just like you would with a normal paper printer. Teachers manage the files, and ECHOdrive takes care of the rest! Spend less time tinkering and more time teaching.’

The idea for this interesting add on spawned during a freshman Engineering Design course, originally looking a bit like a 3D printing vending machine. Catching the attention of Dr. Sven Belin, they were given grant funding to produce a prototype during the summer. Since then their product has progressed by leaps and bounds – they are on their ninth prototype already – and they are currently working on their business plan. The two students are currently a Stage 1 VentureWell team and a part of the NL3 Program, but of which are opportunities for them to expand their business models. ‘Being a part of a community where there are people with similar entrepreneurial interests but with different backgrounds is great. They ask questions you haven’t thought of before,’ Kevin explains.

In the coming months, the two entrepreneurs will set out to explore their practical business options, while they are also in the running for the Intel-Cornell Cup (with a first prize of $10,000) and will also be provided with a grant of $10,000 to further develop their product during Summer Founders Program at Penn State. While it will thus be a while before we see ECHOdrives as a marketed product, we can definitely expect them in the near future.



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories


Maybe you also like:


Pulsar wrote at 4/20/2015 5:54:07 AM:

Are they trying to patent something what is already done and tried long time ago? http://reprap.org/wiki/Exquisite_Automated_Build_Platform

Jetguy wrote at 4/20/2015 3:33:36 AM:

Clearly violates the existing ABP patents. https://www.google.com/patents/US8282380?dq=inassignee:%22Makerbot+Industries%22&ei=Ht5nUoTKF87wkQe5mYCYBg Sucks and is unpopular but that's the law and this breaks it.

Eduardo wrote at 4/20/2015 1:58:50 AM:

Looks like Makerbot did that in the earlier days.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive