Remember Polaroids? If you’re like me, the name probably makes you a bit nostalgic. Back before digital cameras were on the market, the Polaroid camera was the closest you could get to instant photographic gratification. As soon as you snapped a picture, a blank square would pop out of the camera, and you got to watch images slowly emerge like ghosts until you had a finished photograph. They never held up all that well; I have some old Polaroids lying around that have turned very odd colors, but the images have lasted, and though they pale in comparison to the incredible photographic technology available today, I still kind of miss Polaroid’s instant cameras.
I was saddened when the company officially stopped manufacturing their cameras in 2007, and, two years later, when they stopped selling the film for the existing cameras. Ironically, Polaroid was done in by the advance of digital cameras, which the company had unsuccessfully tried to market way back in the 1990s. They declared bankruptcy and shut down, then reformed as a new corporation under the same name. Having associated them only with their pop-out cameras, I hadn’t even realized that they’re currently doing some pretty successful business with everything from digital cameras to mobile phones.
Having been brought down once by newer technology, Polaroid clearly has no intention of falling behind ever again, and now they’ve made the decision to jump into the 3D printing market. Today at CES 2016, the company is officially launching their first 3D printer, the ModelSmart 250S. The plug and play desktop printer comes with automatic calibration and a built-in WiFi camera so you can monitor your prints remotely from a smartphone app. A detachable glass print bed allows for easy application and removal of prints. Other details include:
- Resolution: 50-350 microns
- Print bed: 250 x 150 x 150 mm
- Filament size: 1.75mm
- Print speed: 20-100mm/s
The company, in partnership with Environmental Business Products Ltd, is also introducing a proprietary 3D modeling software called Polaroid Prep, as well as a filament line that includes 9 colors of PLA and a wood filament. Unfortunately, the printer will only be available in 15 European countries at first; no word on whether its release will expand at a later date.
“Throughout our history, the Polaroid brand has been associated with creating innovative products, but we’re also committed to making innovative technologies accessible to everyone,” said Scott W. Hardy, President and CEO of Polaroid. “Just as the first Polaroid Land camera enabled people to watch a picture instantly develop, our relationship with EBP will allow us to bring the magic of creating an object right before your eyes to consumers across Europe.”
To mark the release of their first 3D printer, Polaroid has launched a competition called “How Polaroid Are You?” The company has created a 3D model of their trademark multicolor pixel logo that can either be ordered or downloaded from the contest website. The model was designed in several pieces to form a 3D puzzle, which is the core of the challenge. Can you solve the puzzle? If you can, you’re officially “So Polaroid!” but that’s just the first step; to officially enter the contest, you must share a video of you solving the puzzle on Twitter or Instagram and tag it with @sopolaroid3d and #sopolaroid3d. Entrants are encouraged to submit videos of themselves solving the puzzle in odd settings or situations. (Can you solve it underwater? Can you solve it while riding a bike? Maybe that one isn’t the safest idea.)
Entries are being accepted until March 24, and winners will be announced on March 31. The grand prize winner will win a ModelSmart 250S. Polaroid is also holding a live version of the competition at their CES booth, #13514 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Discuss this new machine in the Polaroid ModelSmart 250S forum thread on 3DPB.com.