Most consumer-level 3D printers use a process called fused deposition modeling or FDM where molten material is deposited in a specific place until a part is built. This, however, is far from the only additive method that can be used to produce a 3D part. One such method that is gaining some traction in the maker world is called Stereolithography or SLA. In this process, a resin is hardened in layers, using a laser or projector to selectively light up and solidify an area. This solid layer is lifted up, and the next layer can then be hardened as required.
While this process requires more complexity than FDM due to the needed light source, one might note that nearly all of us carry around a controllable source of light with us at all times — a smartphone or other connected mobile device.
The T3D mobile multifunction 3D printer, now available on Kickstarter, takes advantage of this tool that’s already at your disposal, using a patented resin that cures only via light wavelengths emitted by their display.
This means that the only other elements needed to produce a printer are a Z-axis that lifts the part in steps as it’s hardened, a surface that the device can shine through to cure the resin, and a clever software package to tie it all together. The T3D does all of this, and with the additional multifunctional package, can 3D scan objects, and even print in multiple colors.
Given the gadget’s exciting capabilities, it’s certainly worth a look if you’re in the market for a new printer!