Wow, here’s another overpriced, hulking 3D printer that I’m not going to buy…No! Wait! The iBox Nano isn’t either of those things. It’s small, lightweight, quiet, battery-powered and affordable.
Perhaps I spoke too soon…You did indeed. This thing is actually the smallest, lightest, quietest and most affordable 3D printer around – and the only one that runs off a battery. It could be the first 3D printer that “regular people” might consider buying, in other words.
How big is it?85 x 110 x 235mm, and it weighs just 1.1kg.
How does it work?The iBox Nano is kitted out with Wi-Fi; you can control it and send it designs to print via any device with a web browser, including computers, tablets or your smartphone.
It’s a resin-based printer, but instead of using expensive, hot DLP bulbs to create the UV light that cures the resin, it employs UV LEDs. These last something like 20 times longer than DLP bulbs and give off very little heat, so don’t require a noisy cooling fan.
Oh, and it has an optional USB-chargeable battery, so you can take it pretty much anywhere and print. You could even take it on a camping weekend and, er, we dunno, use it to print out fishhooks or something. Look, we’re just saying…
But it’s small, so it can only print small thingsThis is true: the build area is only around 90 x 100mm. So you’re not going to be 3D printing a football on this thing (don’t 3D print a football anyway – it’d be really hard on your toes).
On the plus side, it does have an extremely high print resolution of 328 microns on its Z axis (a lot higher than most other 3D printers) meaning it can create incredibly smooth prints where the layers of resin are barely noticeable.
So, let’s talk about this affordabilityWell here’s an area in which the iBox Nano really appeals. If you back its Kickstarter campaign to the tune of US$229 (£142) or more, you will receive one as a reward (you’ll also need to shell out US$50 for shipping, mind). It comes with 95ml of resin in one of three colours. The downside is that these rewards won’t be available until April 2015. Still, plenty of time to save up for more resin.