Sep 6, 2015 | By Tess

For those encumbered by even the thought of transporting a 3D printer, Belgian 3D printer service company, 3D Printers VDB, has recently been developing a 3D printer named the Foldie 3D FFF Printer, which possesses some rather unique properties. Namely, that it can be folded down and easily carried around in just a standard 19 inch laptop bag.

How can it be made to collapse? Well, The 3D printer is made from an H-bot belt design, in which the belt is replaced by a cord, making for a lighter, more flexible, but just as pull resistant design. The Foldie is also possibly the first 3D printer to be built with a motorized bed-lift. And as 3D Printers VDB's CEO Yvan Van den Bossche explains of the mechanics, "the lift-motor turns a gear, which in turn makes a second gear rotate, accommodating a hex nut which rotates up and down on a static threaded m5 rod. Because the rod is static, the gear sends the bed up or down while rotating." Once folded down, the 3D printer, along with all the necessary components, such as a power-supply and filaments, should fit into a laptop bag.

The Foldie 3D FFF Printer, though still in its development stage, is also being designed with affordability in mind. For, as Yvan Van den Bossche told us, "I designed [the Foldie 3D] in order to give less financially fortunate people, such as students and low income workers, the possibility to own, build, and use a 3D Printer." As Van den Bossche goes on to say, he was frustrated with the inaccessibility of most 3D printers for these particular markets and felt that they possessed extreme creative potential so he decided to find a way to make an affordable 3D printer.

In finding a cost-effective way to build a 3D printer, the Foldie's developers identified the most costly parts of 3D printers, such as the power-supply and found less expensive alternatives. For instance, the Foldie 3D FFF Printer can operate on the average 19V laptop power-supply, already eliminating the client's need to purchase another power supply adapter.

In line with the accessible nature of the 3D printer, Foldie will remain open source, with its parts and firmware available for free on Thingiverse. Almost all of the 3D printer's parts can be 3D printed themselves and assembled quite easily. Only a few components, such as the electronics, and various rods, screws, and bolts, will necessarily have to be purchased. Opting to download and print the Foldie 3D FFF Printer's parts could mean making a household 3D printer for as low as 340 USD.

The Foldie 3D FFF Printer also comes with an optional heat-bed, because its developers at 3D Printers DVB found that, on such a small-scale print-bed, good quality prints could be produced without being heated. For those interested in opting for the additional heatbed, it is a silicone heatpad, exactly as big as the Foldie's built-in borosilicate bed, and is equipped with a temperature sensor, heater and a separate power supply.

The Foldie 3D FFF Printer is made to accommodate a single extruder, and comes with an auto bed calibration done by an optical endstop. Though the exact size of the printing envelope is not confirmed, the 3D printer is expected to produce 3D printed objects up to 150mm high.

Additionally, Van den Bossche has divulged that his company is also developing a new Windows 10 tablet, which could function as a stand alone 3D printer interface. It would come equipped with the newest Windows OS, Wifi, as well as various 3D printing softwares such as Repetier Host, Meshmixer, Meshlab, etc. Along with the Foldie 3D FFF Printer, the tablet could easily fit into the same portable case.

Last but not least, 3D Printers VDB has prided itself on being a green company, not only discouraging companies with poor environmental records, but also making sustainable, eco-friendly products. The Foldie 3D continues this tradition, as it is specifically designed to be additively manufactured with biodegradable PLA materials rather than ABS, hopefully encouraging people to build their own Foldies sustainably.

The Foldie 3D FFF Printer is still in development, though updates on its progress as it nears retail readiness can be found at 3D Printers VDB's website.


Posted in 3D Printers



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John wrote at 9/13/2015 12:35:34 PM:

@Jason. Because of the folding capability of the Dremel? Or becasue you are spamming? wrote at 9/10/2015 9:36:35 PM:

At last my k8200 is re-incarnated in a bag! Will certainly load firmware and examine it for compatibility. Hope I could get rid of my nasty Z-axis wobble. Regards, Ski

Jason wrote at 9/7/2015 12:37:31 AM:

These are some pretty good products, however, I personally prefer the Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer for its price. The details are pretty incredible for its price.

Tom wrote at 9/6/2015 3:28:12 PM:

Unfortunately the stl for the 3d printed parts arent available on the thingiverse page :( only 1 large stl of the whole printer... so cant really build it.

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