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fold2We have see many incredible 3D printers launch on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter over the last two years. Many of these printers end up getting funded and eventually produced, while many also fall through the cracks, never to live up to the hopes and dreams of their creators. We have seen some pretty incredible projects come to fruition over the years, but few, if any, have been as interesting, and almost unbelievable as a recent project launched this week by a Cedar Park, Texas man on Indiegogo.

Steven Middleton, a mechanical and materials engineer, with a background in complex electro-mechanical systems, has launched a crowdfunding project, seeking $25,000 for the full scale production of Pocket3DPrinter. The 3D printer, which is not much larger than an Apple iPad, can literally fold up and fit in someone’s pocket. Constructed out of machined aluminum, with a tempered glass print bed, the Pocket3DPrinter uses a combination of two popular additive technologies.

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It prints in a similar fashion as a typical FDM machine such as a MakerBot Replicator, however, instead of using molten plastic released from a scorching hot extruder, it uses photosensitive resin. Like you would see in typical stereolithography-based 3D printer, a UV LED, is placed at the tip if the printing arm. As soon as the resin is released, it is cured by the light. This means that the machine can fold up and be placed back into a pocket or a briefcase without the need to cool down. Below are some of the general specifications of this machine which comes in two different sizes:

  • Printer Technology: SLA, Cures photosensitive resin
  • Build Envelope: 6” X 6” X 5” or 8” X 8” X 7”
  • Printer Size When Closed: 1” X 6” X 7” or 1”X 8” X 9”
  • Power Supply: Rechargeable battery pack
  • Features: Bluetooth, one-button startup

If you don’t find the features listed above remarkable, then maybe the price will catch your attention. The smaller version of the Pocket3DPrinter can be purchased in kit form via Indiegogo for just $299. If you would like the printer fully assembled, you can add $50 to that price. Additionally, Middleton and his team are offering a slightly larger version, fully assembled for just $449. All the printers will come with two refillable printing cartridges, a rechargable battery pack (good for 3 hours of print time) and pre-loaded software.

Whether or not such a device will be possible at the price points provided, is yet to be seen, however, the renderings, prototype and the concept behind the device are all certainly intriguing. Will you be backing this machine? Discuss in the Pocket3DPrinter forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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