You can now purchase a 3-D printer for only $99 - but of course there is a catch. The printer is a tangible product, it has been shipped and used, but it's not what one might think of when one envisions a 3-D printer.
The current crop of 3-D printers that we see for hobbyist/home use are computer-controlled devices that use ultraviolet light to harden a softened filament of material into a desired shape. These building blocks are typically layered on top of one another to produce a finished object. It can take some time, and decent quality printers usually cost several hundred dollars and up.
The $99 ONO printer actually uses visible light from - wait for it - your smartphone (!) to produce the hardening of a special resin, which by a somewhat convoluted process ends up making a 3-D object.
The phone sits at the bottom of an enclosed box and a protective cover and a moveable tray which will contain the resin are placed over the phone. The video in the article here shows the front cover cut away, normally the device is enclosed when printing.
It does appear to work and as I said it has actually shipped, although honestly I think I would save up my pennies and get a more traditional model, if I were in the market for such a device.
|ONO 3D printer, printed objects and resins. Photo via ONO. Click to enlarge|