PocketMaker 3D family
The PocketMaker 3D alongside PocketPLA filament and PocketNozzle
A pint-sized 3D printer has been developed by a group of young designers, intent on providing an affordable additive manufacturing system.
The PocketMaker 3D is set to retail for around $149 if and when it launches next year.
By resisting the urge to add a ton of perhaps expendable features, the group, from Beijing, have achieved their goal of building an affordable 3D printer. Instead of incorporating a range of superfluous features, they focussed their time and effort on building a robust custom motor for the printing unit, and an easy-to-operate smartphone interface.
Like more expensive, industrial printers, the PocketMaker 3D supports PLA, ABS and other standard 1.75mm printer filaments. Owners can also purchase coloured pocket PLA filaments specially designed for the miniature printer, available in white, cyan, pink and yellow. Additionally, the printer uses replaceable nozzles, so users needn’t worry about the nozzle clogging up, and a removable print bed allowing for easy model removal.
On the hardware side, the cube-shaped printer is small and lightweight, measuring only 3.15 inches per side and weighing in at 1.87lbs. The printer is of tiny comparison to the 24lb Ultimaker 2, which measures roughly 23 x 20 x 13 inches.
Users of the PocketMaker 3D are able to connect to the printer using their smartphone via wireless connection, as well as via USB. The printer ships with its printing software and is compatible with the third-party open source software. It prints STL files, which is the most common 3D printer format.
The team of young entrepreneurs who designed the miniature 3D printing system are looking to launch the product in 2017. In production, their parts will be made using injection moulding and other processes. In order to produce the machine to a high quality, they require precise parts, meaning they need to secure a reliable manufacturing partner that will deliver the great quality they desire. So far, the group have talked to a number of manufacturers in Shenzhen who would like to support our production.
While, the team are hopeful for a 2017 launch, they recognise inaccuracies may occur in the early production phase. Typically, there is a 45-day lead time to fabricate the moulds and this is the phase where delays are most likely to occur. To minimise the occurrence of delays in the manufacturing process, the group have been working closely with mould design specialists. They stress they will not release their printers if they do not meet their very own high standards.
The young group of four have also set up a crowdfunding campaign to assist with the development of their product. So far over $23,000 has been raised.