This $99 3D printer can be used with any iOS, Android or Windows smartphone

A new 3D printer, OLO that made its debut in New York in October 2015 and won the
World Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Award, has finally found its way onto Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign where it has garnered more than $800,000 in four days. The first-ever smartphone 3D printer uses light from a smartphone display to create objects.

OLO works with virtually any smartphone (max 5.8-inch screen) and offers companion apps for Android, iOS and Windows. The device is battery-operated and it is completely portable. It weighs nearly 780 grams (1.7lb) and measures 17.2 x 11.5 x 14.8 cm (6.8 x 4.5 x 5.8 inches).

The printer consists of three main parts — a reservoir, a special photopolymer resin that you pour into it, and a mechanized lid that contains the build plate and control electronics. At the bottom of the reservoir, there’s a piece of polarized glass which you place your phone underneath, facing upward.

Then comes the printing part, which Drew Prindle explains over at Digital Trends:

“Basically, once you place the lid on top and the printer starts going, the app makes your phone’s screen light up with a specific pattern. The polarised glass then takes all this light (which shines outwardly to give your phone a wider viewing angle) and redirects it so that all the photons are travelling straight upward.

So as your phone’s screen beams light up into the reservoir, the directed light causes a layer of resin to harden onto the build plate, which slowly moves upward as each new layer is created.”

It’s basically a tiny DLP printer that uses your phone’s screen instead of a projector, which is absolutely brilliant, because doing so replaces the single most expensive part of a stereo lithography printer with something cheap and very common.

OLO 3D Inc. says users can select objects to print from its own library, grab designs from the Internet or use any 3D app including 3D scanning to make your own. There are different resins for different jobs and you can even print multiple items simultaneously. Given its small footprint, you will of course be limited to how large of items the 3D printer can turn out.

Currently, OLO is offering its 3D printer to early buyers for $99. First shipments of the OLO are expected to start in September 2016.

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