This amazing smartphone-powered 3D printer costs less than £70

It's cheap because you probably have half the printer in your pocket already

We love 3D printers. We love the creativity they allow. We especially love our 3D-printed Bulbasaur plant pot. What we don’t love? That they cost hundreds or sometimes thousands of pounds. People usually argue that 3D printing is still a new technology so it will be a while before the price comes down and becomes mainstream. Or perhaps that time has come already. OLO 3D inc have taken to Kickstarter with what they promise is a 3D printer for everyone that costs less than £70.

OLO is a 3D printer that makes use of the expensive equipment you probably already have: a smartphone. Using new 3D printing technology, OLO uses your phone’s screen to heat the resin and build 3D structures. It’s genius because it works well but also means OLO is really affordable. It’s also absurdly simple. You choose an object to print using their app, you pour resin into OLO, and you wait until it’s done. It looks like magic.

OLO has been 2 years in the making and has reached Kickstarter because the developers feel they’ve perfected the technology and are ready to give it to everyone. The box keeps out light in order to maximise the white light from your phone’s screen. The app plays animations that provide instructions on how to build the device; the light hardens the resin at just the right places and just the right moments. The only downside is you don’t get to see it being built until it’s done.

OLO should be great for professionals and beginners. Old hats can use 3D files created in modelling software or captured from apps like Autodesk 123D Catch. Newbies can browse collections of models shared by the community. There will always be something to print in the app. You can make models for your friends and send them so they can print it. By default you can see the object before you print it but there is a feature for surprise gifts so a friend can send a design but you won’t see it until its printed. It sounds fun but just imagine how many people open OLO to inevitably find a penis.

Check out how OLO works:

OLO is simple yet clever; portable yet capable; and looks awesome yet it’s super cheap. We think this will be a game-changer. The Kickstarter campaign almost instantly smashed its $80,000 target. Some of the early bird backing options are already gone but you can still save money and get your own OLO by choosing the $89 (£62.57) backing option. Shipping to the UK is $29 (£20.39).

Images © OLO 3D inc.