Jan 7, 2016 | By Alec

Image credit: Tech Times

Over the years, CES has become a convention known for hosting surprises and shock announcements, but we don’t think a lot of people saw this coming. Polaroid, the American camera giant responsible for the instant camera of the same name, is entering the 3D printing market. On display at the CES show floor, to the surprise of many, they have just unveiled their Polaroid ModelSmart 250S 3D printer – an interesting and FDM 3D printer fitting somewhere in the range between desktop and professional models thanks to its very large build area.

Polaroid, of course, was once ubiquitous – it would be very surprising if any camera shown in 1990s sitcoms wasn’t a polaroid. However, the company went into a steep decline during the early 2000s, but is now back and expanding into new markets – with 3D printing apparently among their targets. However, they’ve kept some of their classic image, even featuring bright rainbow stripes running across the front of the ModelSmart 250S. Could this be the Polaroid of the 21rst century?

But it’s also a very interesting machine when you look beyond its brand, which has been developed in collaboration with UK-based partner and inkjet cartridge manufacturer Environmental Business Products (EBP). The latter company entered the 3D printing industry in 2014, and will now be working with Polaroid as part of a three year manufacturing deal. “We are passionate about 3D print technology. Partnering with a trusted, household name like Polaroid will help 3D printing become part of everyone’s everyday life. EBP believes in offering the most creative and innovative experiences so it is great to partner with a brand which embodies the same values as us,” Aleem Hosein, the Managing Director at EBP, said on the Polaroid website.

Utilizing FDM technology but on a scale usually found on professional machines, it could be that Polaroid has found a perfect market niche with its ModelSmart 250S, which is doubtlessly intended for startups and research environments. In a nutshell, it contains all the features you’ve come to expect on a top range FDM 3D printer in 2016, namely autocalibration, a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, app control, smartchip mechanisms for filament control, and a proprietary driver software package for convenient use. It features an appealing build space of 250(w) x 150(h) x 150(d) mm, and produces a respectable layer height in the range of 50 – 350 microns. It also 3D prints just about every PLA you can think of. Most interestingly, it features transparent double-sided adhesive Z-Axis sheets that can applied to the print bed to make model removal effortless. “[These Z-axis sheets] Optimise highest quality outputs with smooth and blemish-free models,” and “Reduces premature wear-and-tear on print head,” its developers say.

In short, it’s an intriguing machine that will doubtlessly interest users looking for a large build space, and will not look bad on your desktop either. Besides, who doesn’t want to own a Polaroid? “Throughout our history, the Polaroid brand has been associated with creating innovative products, but we’re also committed to making innovative technologies accessible to everyone,” said Scott W. Hardy, President and CEO of Polaroid. “Just as the first Polaroid Land camera enabled people to watch a picture instantly develop, our relationship with EBP will allow us to bring the magic of creating an object right before your eyes to consumers across Europe.”

The ModelSmart 250S 3D printer will be made available across Europe in early 2016, but can obviously also be admired  at CES in Las Vegas right now. The Polaroid stand can be found in the Central Hall (Tech East, LVCC) at booth #13514.

The full specifications of the ModelSmart 250S 3D printer:

  • Polaroid ModelSmart 250S 3D printer spec
  • Single extruder
  • Max model size 250(w) x 150(h) x 150(d) mm
  • Nozzle 0.4mm
  • Print speed 50mm/s (default) and can be set between 20mm/s and 100mm/s
  • Vertical resolution (layer height) 50 – 350 micron
  • Camera inside printer: minimum resolution 640 x 480, connected to LAN over WiFi, access via phone App or browser from anywhere with internet access
  • Unique Polaroid software for importing of 3D models from library or .stl file type
  • Run independently without the need of a computer via the LCD touchscreen
  • Accurate auto calibration
  • 12 month manufacturer’s guarantee (except where local regulations require otherwise)
  • MAC and Windows compatible
  • Connectivity: WiFi for network and USB for printing and firmware update



Posted in 3D Printer



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A k wrote at 5/18/2016 12:46:10 AM:

This is an expensive 3D printer compared to existing offerings and the consumables are also around 5 times the going rate for filament.

Paucus wrote at 1/14/2016 11:44:12 AM:


Joe Q. wrote at 1/12/2016 4:59:00 PM:

Jeff Kashinsky's comment is right-on. "Polaroid" these days is just a brand or marketing exercise. There is no independent R&D.

Jeff Kashinsky wrote at 1/7/2016 8:01:58 PM:

Your article implies that this is the same Polaroid that produced the camera. It is not. It is a different company that has rights to the Polaroid brand.

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