Here’s an interesting idea for a new product. It’s a portable 3D printer that uses your smartphone to create a physical model and it only costs $99.
What Does It Do: OLO is a stereolithography printer that uses light from your smartphone instead of a laser to harden liquid resin into a 3D model.
System Requirements: Almost any iOS, Android or Windows smartphone.
What does it cost: $99 – cheap!
How Does it Work: OLO consists of a tank to hold resins, a motor operated build platform, and a holder for your smartphone. The resins harden one layer at a time on the build platform when exposed to the white light from your smartphone. The build platform moves after each layer to accommodate the next layer until the complete object is printed. OLO uses cloud-based software to control your smartphone while printing. Prints can be made from a scanned model or one created in a modeling program such as Sketchup.
Pros: OLO is inexpensive, simple, quiet and extremely portable. It weighs just over a pound and runs on 4 AA batteries that will last for over 100 prints. Resins come in many colors including those that result in hard, flexible, translucent and even castable models.
Cons: OLO does not have a very large build area (only 400 cubic centimeters) and it only runs on batteries (there is no power adapter). It’s not clear if OLO will only use a proprietary resin or if the pricing will be competitive with other third party resins. Resin printers are messy. However the biggest drawback is it’s not shipping yet.
Conclusion: At this size OLO will only satisfy limited applications. It’s a great concept, but since it’s still a Kickstarter project there’s no guarantee it will ever make it to market.