For all us tech nomads, there are finally emerging a few projects that bring mobility to 3D printers. Below are four printers in the press as of late, each offering different features to meet the needs of the varied types of modern day nomads.
PopFab is more than just a 3D printer, it is a 3-in-1 CNC mill multi-tool that can travel with you as carry-on luggage. Its compatibility with different toolheads allows it to run as not only a CNC mill but also a 3D printer, vinyl cutter and plotter. As you can see in the video, the computer controlled platform rests inside the suitcase while the toolhead pops up.
Check out their first 'episode' here.
The FoldaRap is an open-source 3d-Printer that can also be folded up for storage or travel, then easily reassembled and used. This project is currently seeking funding (only 2 days left) on Ulule, a crowd funding site.
3) Tantiillus offers a different kind of mobility, one without electricity. While this mini-printer sports a build area of 100mm x 100mm x 110 mm, making it easier to travel with than most printers (but not foldable), it has the extra advantage of running off batteries. In addition to that it has a daisy chain feature, allowing two printers to share one set of electronics that can mass-produce duplicate sets of prints at a reduced cost.
4) Solar Sinter
4) Solar Sinter is portable, but not as easily as the others on this list. Its star feature is that it is an entirely solar-powered machine, using sand to make glass objects: solar sintering instead of selective laser sintering (SLS). This printer is obviously designed to work in the desert, and to take advantage of cheap raw energy and materials.