If you want to print something on the go then, the new genre of printers which are popularly known as portable printers are the best pick for you. Usually the 3D printers have a large size because of which they are immobile. Recently the 3D printing market has witnessed a few portable 3D printers. But the printer about which we will be analyzing today is very unique as it is said to be self contained, which means that 3D models can be printed out of them even in the middle of the Sahara desert or in army field hospitals which are short on supplies!

This concept of a self contained printer has been materialized by a pair of MIT mechanical engineering students named Philip Haasnoot, and his partner Corey Renner. Their collaborative effort has given rise to the first truly portable 3D printer known as the TOME 3D printer, which uses the FDM technology. Although the people who have designed this printer are students, they excel in the task of creating elaborate and comprehensive electronic devices. Haasnoot developed a keen eye for 3D printing from the work experience that he gathering from companies like Motorola and Local Motors.

In his interaction with 3ders(dot)org, Haasnoot says “My inspiration for creating the printer draws both from my professional life as well as the trends in mobile computing. I learned early on in my career that being agile and flexible would enable me to advance at a rapid pace, and fill roles in whatever organization I worked for rapidly. Being able to bring tools with me became very important as my job often required me to travel from on- site testing or manufacturing management. Having a 3D printer on hand to produce proto- types or test fixture designs would have enabled these projects to be completed faster, with more precision and less overhead cost. Inspiration for TOME was also drawn from the progression from desktop PC’s to Laptops, with the trade off in sheer computing power for mobility. I see the TOME as the next logical step for 3D printers, refining the FDM technology to work in a smaller more robust package. Future advancements and patent expirations will enable us to miniaturize other 3D printing technologies for mobile use.”

Haasnnot and Renner are in the final stage of developing this printer, which is finalizing the designs for the XYZ drive mechanism and the extruder. They plan to produce TOMEs in several sizes and also in commercial version which will be equipped with an injection molded/ leather wrapped case for making the device compatible for everyday use.

The specifications of the printer are mentioned below:

  • Folded dimension: 4 inches x 8 inches x 11 inches
  • Print Volume: 5 inches cube
  • Battery backup: Minimum 4 hrs standard, Minimum 6 hrs 1.5x battery pack
  • Materials: PLA (with a heated bed for better adhesion)
  • Two filaments
  • Capacity: Minimum 3 inches solid cube, Minimum 5 inches solid cube with 1.5x reel.

The duo plans to sell this printer for less than $1,500 and with these developments they are optimistic that the printer will “Forge new paths in the 3D printing community”.

Image Source: Phil-source.com