How it all started
LumiFold has been our first revolutionary 3D Printer. Launched in 2013, Lumifold, was compact, portable and even foldable!
It was officially presented at the first European Maker Faire in Rome, it was t he protagonist of our first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and it attacted the interest of the international press like The Guardian.
This was the starting point of our quest for compactness and portability in resin-based 3d printing.
In fact, we believe that, in a way similar to the evolution of computers from big mainframes to compact personal computers, compactness will help 3D printers to become more and more adopted.
Why compactness and portability
There are several advantages of having a 3D printer that is compact, even portable: it takes up little space, it is easier to share it and it opens the way for interesting scenarios.
Such as a teacher who can bring a 3D printer in his suitcase and print 3d models during his lessons; or doctors that during a conference can make 3D printed parts for colleagues, or patients, showing the part where they intend to operate. Possible scenarios do include also live presentations for jewelry or fashion companies, in which it would be possible to go to the presentation with your 3D printer and create for the customer, or with the customer, a prototype.
Even in developing countries, a machine capable of 3D printing with great precision, but easy to transport, can be not only helpful but a radical step forward for medical care in emergency areas; a more compact 3D printer also means that it can be integrated in other systems, or that in the same space of a conventional 3D printer, more functions can be added. Read more about it on this article about the importance of being compact.
The evolution of an idea: the New Lumifold
In 2015 we developed a unique mechanism for the Z-axis of a 3D printer that allows to design extremely compact machines for fast prototyping.
Its most interesting feature is that the total height of the 3D printer, when closed, is smaller than the maximum height of the 3D printed part, as it expands while printing. This system can be integrated in different types of 3D printers and is now patented.
In the last years we have seen many innovations in the way the resin is cured, but the mechanical lifting system is mostly unchanged; we think New LumiFold solution can be a disruptive innovation that will change completely the way 3D printers are conceived and designed.
This system can be applied to different 3D printing technologies being them filaments or different type of resin techniques (SLA, DLP, LCD). Our first version is New LumiFold TB, the first compact resin based 3D printer using a normal tablet as light source.
How does new Lumifold TB work?
We like to experiment, and we choose to use a tablet as light source for our first model. It was the best choice to show the extreme compactness this line of 3D printers can reach, together with the possibility to give a new life to your iPad as an active player in 3D printing. Unlike already seen project using a smartphone, we are using an iPad Mini model 3 or 4, with a resolution on XY axis of 78 microns, ensuring a wider printing area of 10*10 cm without the hassles of a mobile phone functions (call/messages).
The tablet is inserted under the resin vat, covered with a thin fep. A proprietary App slices and processes the 3D file. Once the file is ready for printing, you just need to click “start”: the 3D printer, connected via Bluetooth to the iPad, will move up each time that a layer has been cured thanks to the light emitted by the screen itself.
When off and closed the printer is only 18*28* h. 8cm while when fully open it can reach approximately 18 cm, ensuring a good 10 cm height for 3D printed parts.
The resin used is not the usual UV resin, but a special formula much more reactive to visible light, called “daylight”, they are a bit slower than UV resins, but the result is excellent.
printer size: 28*18*h.8 cm when off and closed
printer size when fully open: 28*18* approx. 18 cm
Building area: 10*10* h.10 cm
Resolution X/Y 78 micron
Resolution Z: up to 25 microns.
Resins: day light resins
Light source: iPad mini 3/4 (other tablets and even phones can be also used, however the current device was specifically designed for the iPad mini 3/4), and an App has also been designed to work on IOS.
Bluetooth connection between tablet and printer
The New Lumifold on the major on-line trade publications
Press release images