3D printers have been set for big things for a long time. But as rapid as their recent boost in popularity has been, they’re pretty clunky machines and generally not on the cheap side. However, a San Francisco-based startup has plans to release a 3D printer for your smartphone, all for under $100.
The OLO 3D printer allows users to create three-dimensional prints using the light from their smartphone screen. You can choose your choice of design from an existing 3D design platform that is compatible with the OLO app. The printer uses a photopolymer resin that hardens under the white light of the screen. The light emitted from the screen's image reacts with the resin and sets it stiff. The printer then hoists it up and a new layer of resin is "poured" in to react with the light.
Check out the video at the bottom for more of an insight into how the printer works.
Image credit: OLO/YouTube/MakeGIF
The start-up also have plans to link the whole experience to social media, allowing users to share their raw designs and images of their final products with others.
Four AA batteries will get you 100 prints (it's not clear how long each take to make, though), and the device is described as a “virtually noiseless mechanism.” It also works with smartphones of almost any size or brand, including the monolithic displays of the iPhone 6S+ or Galaxy A7.
The team have been fine-tuning their design for over two years with the hope of making it simple enough for first-timers yet sufficient enough for professionals. Overall, it’s remarkably simple – comprised of just seven plastic parts, one chip, a motor, and four AA batteries. Most outstanding of all, the creators of OLO say it will cost as little as $99.
As OLO is still in its crowdfunding stage, there's no guarantee it will make it onto shelves. However, judging by the success of the Kickstarter, it is looking promising that they will reach their target to commercially produce their first models around September 2016.