What started a bit over two years ago as a crowdfunded $400 portable 3D printer has now evolved into a truly revolutionary product, thanks to its maker, Lumi Industries.
The goal of Italian firm Lumi Industries, the maker of the LumiFold 3D printers, is not only to make 3D printing convenient, but also affordable to anyone interested in this matter. The LumiFold DLP, which is the company’s first 3D printer and the subject of a tremendously successful crowdfunding campaign, saw improvements in the form of two other versions that were crowdfunded, as well. In order to add more functionality to its 3D printers, Lumi Industries then launched the LumiPocket LT, which was also capable of laser engraving and PCB etching objects. Lumi’s latest project is even more ambitious, as the company is looking to make its most compact, portable resin-based 3D printer yet, known as LumiFold TAB.
As the name of the product suggests, LumiFold TAB attaches to tablets and relies on visible light to cure the resin it prints with.
“We believe that, similar to the evolution of computers from big mainframes to compact personal computers, this will help the 3D printers to become more and more adopted,” explained Lumi Industries CEO Davide Marin in an email to 3D Printing Industry. “A more compact [3D printer] means that it can be integrated in other systems, or that in the same space of a conventional 3D printer, more functions can be added.”
The benefits of using a compact 3D printer such as the LumiFold TAB are numerous, as Marin himself explained.
“There are several advantages of having a 3D printer that is compact, even portable: it takes up little space, it is easier to share it and it opens the way for interesting scenarios,” pointed out Marin. “Such as a teacher who can bring a 3D printer in his suitcase and print 3d models during his lessons; or doctors that during a conference can make 3D printed parts for colleagues, or patients, showing the part where they intend to operate.”
“Possible scenarios do include also live presentations for jewelry or fashion companies, in which it would be possible to go to the presentation with your 3D printer and create for the customer, or with the customer, a prototype,” added Marin. “Moreover, even in countries in the developing world, a machine capable of 3D printing with great precision, but easy to transport, can be not only helpful but a radical step forward for medical care in emergency areas.”
Sony, Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo, and Samsung are only some of the tablet makers that Marin thinks should be interested in developing this project even further. Sure, that kind of partnerships could definitely take Lumi Industries to new heights, but I don’t know how realistic these plans are, at least for now.
LumiFold TAB isn’t the only tablet-based 3D printer around, as Taiwanese students coordinated by Chair of Engineering Prof. Jeng Ywam Jeng, and Solido3D are both working on something similar, but that’s not to say that Lumi Industries didn’t contribute a lot to revolutionizing 3D printing. The price and release date of the LumiFold TAB are yet to be announced by the manufacturer, but judging by their previous releases, this shouldn’t be that expensive, either.
[via 3D Printing Industry]