Jan 5, 2017 | By Tess

Last year, the small ONO 3D printer made huge headlines for being the world’s first smartphone 3D printer. If you remember, its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign raised over $2 million—very impressive, to say the least. Now, another smartphone 3D printer has emerged, developed by Taiwan-based startup T3D.

T3D’s mobile 3D printer, while not seemingly available for commercial use yet, uses the same type of 3D printing technology as the ONO (previously the OLO 3D printer). Using resin based additive manufacturing technologies and a specialized app, the startup has the ability to turn any old smartphone into a functioning 3D printer. As you can see in T3D’s demo video, the smartphone 3D printer actually works.

Essentially, using the 3D printer’s app, users will be able to choose what shape or object they want to print. From there, patterns of light on the phone’s screen will be generated which, when exposed to a resin-dipped mechanical build plate, solidifies a layer of the object in the resin. From there, like most other light-based 3D printers, the object is built up layer by layer, as each new layer of resin is exposed to the light.

Of course, there are some limitations with T3D’s smartphone 3D printing technology, as the device can only work at very slow rates. The small cube that is printed in the demo video for instance, takes a lengthy 7 hours to complete. Additionally, the scale of objects is quite limited, though for a portable smartphone 3D printer (weighing in at only 22 ounces), this seems like a reasonable concession.

Dr. Sung, founder of T3D, commented on the new device saying, “T3D will definitely be a game-changer to the 3D printing industry. Whether it is speed or precision, T3D packs a lot of punch considering its small form factor.”

According to the 3D printer startup, its smartphone 3D printer technology will be available for the reasonable cost of about $299, though, as I said, there is no word on when the 3D printer will be ready for sale or for shipping. We imagine the technology will still need some fine tuning before being commercially viable.

Still, a number of small 3D prints made using T3D’s smartphone 3D printer have been posted on the company’s website, and they do look quite impressive, albeit a bit on the novelty side (think octopus, small bunny, chess pieces). The Taiwanese startup is hoping to offer its customers a wide range of ready-to-print objects through its platform, and expects to have 5,800 different models available in time for the T3D printer’s launch.



Posted in 3D Printer



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