OLO Turns Your Smartphone Into A 3D Printer

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Our phones already do plenty of things well beyond making calls and sending messages. Seriously, it’s evolved into a much more versatile tool than anyone probably imagined. And it’s not finished yet.  This time around, a product called OLO vows to turn any phone into a functional 3D printer.

While many 3D printers can interface with phones via apps, this one actually uses your phone to cure the resin. That’s right, your phone actually becomes an essential cog in the fabrication process, with the printer using the light from the phone's display to shape any object you’re producing.

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Created by Solido3D, OLO is a portable 3D printer measuring 6.8 x 4.5 x 5.8 inches (w x d x h), making for, arguably, the first digital fabrication tool you can throw in a bag and carry everywhere (it's way smaller than the already compact M3D Micro). To use, you simply launch the app on your phone, choose the model you’re fabricating, and lay your phone down on a flat surface.  From there, you place OLO’s lower component on top of the phone, pour the recommended amount of liquid resin, and place the top component (which holds the build plate and control electronics) to cover everything.

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Printing will commence on its own, with the app making your phone’s screen light up with a specific pattern that corresponds with the model. A polarized glass on the bottom of the lower component takes this light and shines it outwardly, redirecting it to cause a layer of resin to harden.  The build plate slowly rises as each layer of resin hardens until the whole model is finished.  There are no details on how long printing takes, but we’re assuming it’s going to be time-consuming similar to traditional 3D printers.

A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for OLO. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $99.

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3 Responses

  1. Skyler

    I think we all realized a long time ago that our phones would quickly become the most useful tool in our lives. What I personally never imagined were phones that could replace our GPS systems or link with our home security systems in real-time. The first time I walked into an Office Depot and saw a 3D printer, I was absolutely blown away. There are actually architects that use that technology to create BUILDINGS! Wait… what??
    Anyway, the fact that we are now capable of building physical items with our cell phones is mind blowing. I’m shocked this technology will cost under $100! I find it so fascinating that you actually place your phone inside the unit. Mind blown…

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  2. Samuel

    Although it sounds good in theory, I dislike this project. I am a huge proponent for 3D printers, but this one is not worth the money. You can buy much larger 3D printers for around $150. This one is so small that I am not sure what you would print exactly. Why limit yourself?

    How does this 3D printer cure the resin? On a regular 3D printer it will use a laser to cure the resin, but with this model it uses the light from your phone? You may think that a 3D printer that attaches to your phone is a good idea, but it isn’t. Maybe in the future the technology will get there, but this is a huge-step backwards.

    On the KickStarter page it says “an iPhone 6 can print a 1CM tall object in approximately 46 minutes, or 1 inch in approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes.”

    That means you will be without the use of your cellphone for 2 hours while you are printing. No thank you, this smart phone 3D printer is just too limiting. Why didn’t they just use an onboard screen implemented into the printer? This KickStater obviously has a huge demand with how much money they have raised, but I bet a lot of the buyers will regret their decision. I highly encourage people to get involved with 3D printing, but this project is NOT the way to do it.

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