Resin-based 3D printing technologies use light to solidify a liquid material layer by layer. If you can provide the right resin material, you can use pretty much any consistent light source to cure it.
Read more about SLA / DLP printers here: DLP vs SLA – 3D Printing Technologies Shootout
Besides cheap beamers, we have smartphones or tablet PCs we can “misuse” for low-cost printing. Italian company Lumifold have been working for 5 years on the “LumiFold TB”, a portable system that‘s based on this technology. Let’s dive into its known specs.
Italian-based Lumi Industries offer 3D printing materials, 3D visualization, and training courses. They announced a low-cost resin 3D printer for under $100 in 2013 already (All3DP reported). Five years later, the printer now named “LumiFold TB” is here.
In a nutshell, you’ll need to put the tablet underneath a vat, filled with curable daylight resin. On the tablet, a dedicated app will display the slices of the object you want to 3D print.
The 3D printer works with the iPad Mini 3 and 4 as well as with other tablets.
According to the company, their system will have a 100 x 100 x 100 mm build volume, which is relatively small compared to other SLA 3D printers.
The Italian company specializes in 3D printing materials. For their first 3D printer, they chose not to go for the standard 3D printing resin that cures with UV light. Instead, they use a resin that works best with the light emitted from a tablet PC. According to the manufacturer, it takes the resin longer to solidify, but gives better results.
They also state the LumiFold TB is capable of reaching an XY voxel size of just 0.078mm. and a layer size of 0.025mm – these specs put the LumiFold TB in the range of professional DLP printers.
The LumiFold TB is foldable and can fit in a briefcase (18 x 28 x 8 cm when closed, 18 x 28 x 18 cm when open). While printing, it will expand in the Z-axis.
There’s no wiring between the tablet ad the printer itself – all data will be exchanged via Bluetooth.
So far, there’s no pricing available for the LumiFold TB.
As great as that sounds, we want to point out that a lot of SLA printers using smartphones or tablets as a light source didn’t make it to the public. The ONO, kickstarted in March 2016, still hasn‘t surfaced after 3 years, and we don’t even want to talk about the disaster of the Peachy printer (recall the gruesome story here).
But according to the videos and the specs, it looks like the Lumi Industries have developed a really interesting and capable machine.
The printer will make its debut at Maker Faire Rome and Formnext Frankfurt in October 2018. As soon as we hear more, we’ll keep you updated.
(Source: 3D Printing Media Network)
License: The text of "LumiFold TB: The Resin Printer That Fits in a Briefcase" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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