The 3D printer is becoming increasingly advanced, and when combined with a smartphone, it can do miraculous things. This combo may be the best thing since sliced bread and pockets on jeans. Enter Jeng Ywam-Jeng, the dean of the college of Engineering, professor, and president of the 3D Printing Association Taiwan. He and his student team of researchers are behind this amazing piece of mobile device technology, and it retails for only around $100, according to Digital Trends.
Jeng and his lab team, along with a research associate, found a way to create a polymer that can make this possible. A photopolymer to be exact. The process used allows for this product to process light radiated by a smartphone device. The light used here is used to cure the resin, which can substitute the traditional means of using UV light or lasers emitted from current 3D printer technology.
The 3D printer first applies a layer of the photopolymer on the surface of the smartphone, the resin is then cured, and the design is created. The smartphone’s light continues the hardening of the structured design as it continues in layers. According to Jeng, there is no need to contain or enclose the print area as typically seen with regular 3D printers, just a darkened area of a room.
“We’ve tried to 3D-print a hollow ball and achieved layer thicknesses of about 100 microns. And there’s no need to enclose the printer in a dark box; just to shut the lights off in part of a room.”
The smartphone 3D printer technology team had worked on a prototype, however, it needed to be hooked to a PC so it could control the motor as it printed, and later they created an app to allow the motor to work in sync with the rest. In addition to that, the same app also allows for the utilizing of 3D models and this would allow it all to be bundled together and streamlined through only the smartphone. So it looks like the outcome that the printer wouldn’t have to be hooked up to peripherals and could be self-sustaining.
Jeng also has an idea to allow for a smartphone to scan a real object, attach it to the 3D printer, and then duplicate the object scanned.
The 3D printer also has a disadvantage for now. It works pretty slow, mainly due to the lack of visible light from the smartphone, but they do intend on working on making it brighter. This will allow for the resin to cure quickly, allowing the layering to build faster. Jeng mentioned that another way around this would be to utilize devices with even larger screens like that of a tablet or a large HDTV screen. This of course means larger screens, thus brighter visible light for a quick cure of the resin.
This device will be likely forseen as the next “big thing” in portable printing on a global scale. According to 3D Industry, it is said this will be quite an affordable product. Just imagine being able to carry a portable printer in your pocket and for around $100, on top of the price of a smartphone, of course.
This portable 3D printer smartphone could be the latest and greatest invention this decade. Just imagine being able to pair this tech with 3D scanners and VR. Imagine the efficiency when something can be so easily whipped up. If this goes to market, it would indeed be considered, according to 3D Industry, in regards to all people around the world using 3D technology at the palm of their hand, providing the technology industry with an even greater “boost” to the “third industrial revolution.”
“The third industrial revolution could receive an even greater boost with the 2 billion people on the planet currently carrying smartphones demanding the most out of 3D printing technology.”
This could revolutionize 3D printers as an advancement in smartphone technology.
[Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images News]