May 21, 2015 | By Simon

If for any reason you thought that there may have been a shortage of possibilities for new 3D printers that could be funded on Kickstarter, you should certainly think again.

The latest to hit the popular crowdfunding platform - which has helped launch everything from the FormLabs Form 1 3D Printer to the 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen to the tune of millions of dollars - is focused on being a product that represents today’s modern worker: the mobile worker.  

The Focus 3D Printer by 3D By Flow is a truly mobile, lightweight, multi-material high quality 3D printer that is durable enough to transport and be space efficient with minimal setup.  

Previously, 3Ders reported on 3D By Flow’s development of the printer back in October of 2014.  At the time, the Dutch company, which was founded by Dutch design student and the 3D printer’s designer Floris Hoff had only recently shared the 3D printer at the recent Maker Faire in Rome, where it was met with an enthusiastic response.  While relatively little else was known about the product, we now know that Hoff has been busy all this time further developing the concept in an actual product that now anybody can pack on to the back of their Vespa for 3D printing around town.  

According to the company, the Focus can be folded into a compact suitcase that can easily be taken anywhere.  Weighing in at 7 kg, the suitcase can be unfolded easily within seconds when ready to be used and doesn’t require the need for any leveling or calibrating before hitting that “print” button.  Similar to existing 3D printers, to load up a file for printing on the portable device, all that is needed is a pocket-sized SD card or a laptop tethered via a USB cable with the file ready to go.

While the portability of the printer surely adds to its value during a time where more people than ever prefer working on the go, perhaps what makes the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printer even more unique is its magnetic extruder switch, which allows for a user to attach a variety of different extruder types (including filament-, paste- and granulate-) to make the Focus capable of printing a multitude of different materials.  According to 3D By Flow, these extruder types are capable of printing a range of materials including PLA, ABS, wood, bio-rubber, nylon, bronze, ceramic, silicon as well as edible materials such as chocolate.  

In addition to the easily exchangeable extruder types, custom software has been developed with extruder recognition capabilities to ensure that regardless of which material is chosen for a specified print, the printer will always be optimized for the intended material type.        

As for the print bed of the portable 3D printer - which requires no leveling or calibration - it is a completely stationary, bottom-isolated heated print bed that was designed to optimize print accuracy - including soft materials such as chocolate or ceramics.  

Currently, the 3D by Flow team is hoping to raise $56,475 over the course of the next three weeks and have already managed to raise over $16,000 already from their Kickstarter campaign.  If they become funded, the company is expecting to deliver the 3D printers by December of 2015 and are planning on keeping all of the manufacturing in their home country, The Netherlands.  

“We have made 20 printers and field tested them with various interested parties for meaningful feedback, with which we made the last few changes before our Kickstarter,” added the company.  

“We are confident that we have addressed every important aspect of the project and we have worked very hard to make sure we have everything under control before showcasing the Focus to the world … we already have a manufacturer lined up who is ready and willing to build our printer as soon as our campaign ends. We will be present when the first products come off the assembly line, to make sure everything is perfect.”

As for what’s next for the young and innovative Dutch company, they are also working on not one but TWO other 3D printers.  These include a 3D printer that is specifically for the healthcare industry with a focus on producing 3D printed prosthetics, as well as a 3D printer dedicated to printing chocolate.  



Posted in 3D Printers


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