OLO: The pocket-friendly 3D printer


We all know that when certain revolutionary tech is released, it takes a little while before us everyday-folk can afford it. It was the same for 3D printers. The first time I saw one, I was in a store with my friends and I remember saying, “As soon as these get cheaper, I’m getting one!”

Well looks like those days are here. Meet olo.

OLO is a 3D printing device launched on Kickstarter which crossed its goal in a matter of hours and the concept is just brilliant. OLO converts any smartphone into a fully functional 3D printing device.

You just start the app, select what you want to print, slide the phone into the device and voila! It prints the object.

OLO_C_141To understand how it works you first need to understand the parts of the device. The printer can be split into three main parts; 1, the reservoir at the bottom of which is the polarised glass under which you place the phone facing upward; 2, the special photopolymer resin which is poured into the device and 3, a mechanised lid that contains the build plate and control electronics.

OLO working

The workings of the OLO are similar to a ‘mini’ version of a DLP printer. The most expensive part of a DLP stereolithography printer is projector. OLO replaces the projector with the light from the screen of the smartphone.

So once the lid of the device is placed on top and the printer starts, the app makes the phone light up in a specific pattern.

Then the polarised glass takes this light and shines it outwards to give you phone a wider viewing angle which is then redirected so that all the emitted photons are travelling vertically upwards.

Once the resin is poured into the reservoir, the lid is shut and the reservoir is lit, the light causes layers of the resin to harden on the build plate as it moves upwards as each layer is formed. The resin is available in a varied amount of colours which definitely helps.