The developers of the OLO 3D Printer wanted to raise $80,000 through a crowfunding campaign for their $99 gadget that turns your phone into a 3D Printer.

A few days after the project hit Kickstarter, it had raised about $1.3 million.

It’s not hard to see why: this is probably the cheapest 3D printer money can buy, even if it’s for a product that doesn’t actually exist yet and which won’t ship until this fall at the soonest.

But it’s a rather quirky device that only works if you’re willing to set aside your phone for a few hours while your objects are being printed.


So here’s the pitch. OLO is a small box that you set on top of your phone. Just fire up an app on your phone, choose the item you want to print, place the OLO on top of your phone, and pour in the resin. Then the light from your phone will harden the resin into the appropriate shape. When the process is finished, you rinse your item under warm water to finish the process.

You can choose from a library of images or create your own using 3D capture or design software.

The OLO runs on four AA batteries, works with Android, iOS, and Windows phones and supports several different types of resins, all of which should be available for $15 per bottle after the crowdfunding campaign ends.

Perhaps the biggest down sides? You won’t be able to print large items in such a small box, and it’ll take a long time to print even relatively small objects. According to the OLO Kickstarter page, you can print a 1 inch object using an iPhone 6 in about 2 hours, or a 1cm (0.4 inch) object in about 46 minutes. During that time, your phone will be pretty much out of action.

While the printer itself is battery-powered, you’ll need to plug in your phone while printing, which makes sense since you’ll need to leave the display shining brightly for an extended period of time.

The developers say precision of your printed objects will also vary depending on the screen resolution and contrast of your smartphone.

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10 replies on “$99 OLO gadget turns your smartphone into a 3D Printer, raises over $1 million on Kickstarter”

  1. You have to squirt a goop onto your screen? Probably not, but it’s not made clear

  2. Wouldn’t the resolution of the printed object be the same or smaller than your screen? Like 640×1136 for an iPhone? And that is the full screen scenario. a smaller object would be a few hundred pixels tops. Even a 4K screen would result in horrible build qualities. Also, there is a very big difference between screens, a TN+f screen would make a horrible mess with the light-bleeding, the IPS screens also have some light when they are totally black, only AMOLEDs are somewhat understandable in this concept, but most of them has a pen-tile arrangement, which means you don’t get square pixels and white pixels are actually two pixels together, which effectively halves your resolution.
    This doesn’t sound like something worth $99 for me.

    1. Yes I believe the print resolution is limited by the hand phone’s screen resolution. But consider affordable 3D printers are driven by stepper motors that in conjunction with the drive mechanism impart a minimum step resolution on the printed object also. That plus the printer’s positioning accuracy results in an equivalent resolution of around 254 dpi for a typical affordable hobbyist desktop additive printer (e.g., Rep Rap Mendel). In comparison, a 6″ diagonal hand phone screen with 1136×640 pixels has a equivalent resolution of 217dpi. I would imagine that up to a point, higher resolution screens of the same diagonal size would result in better prints. If this $99 device isn’t a Kickstarter scam, and if the consumables are not too expensive (it looks like they are), something like this printer might take off.

  3. As with all kickstarters, I will wait for the finished product before I actually purchase.

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