PocketMaker 3D offers 3D printing for pocket change

The concept of 3D printing brings to mind images of large, very technical machines designed to print out intricate creations. The PocketMaker 3D is here to prove that smaller printers can be as good.

The small, almost handheld printer can be a low-cost introduction to the world of 3D printing or an addition to an experienced maker’s 3D printing arsenal. With it, users can either wirelessly transfer their own custom 3D models from their computers to the device or select a model from dozens of options in the PocketMaker 3D’s companion iOS/Android app. No matter how it’s done, the printer can spit out something practical like an ashtray or something more decorative like a Mickey Mouse figurine.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging Maker/Development

PIXELIO uses a smartphone or GoPro for an all-in-one 3D scanner

With 3D printers inching their way towards ubiquity, 3D scanners will rise in popularity alongside them. As of right now, though, there aren’t very many solutions for scanning, outside of the occasional Pouff3D every now and then. Smart3D Ltd. is hoping it’s PIXELIO all-in-one 3D scanner will catch people’s attention due to its usefulness and versatility.

The PIXELIO’s main draw is a universal cradle that can hold onto a smartphone or GoPro camera while it slowly pans around an object placed in its center to create high-quality, 360° scans or timelapses. PIXELIO employs Virtual Finger technology in the universal holder to replicate the feel of a skin with a bit of graphene to release the virtual shutter on smartphones, a clever invention for what could’ve been a huge issue.


Form-Mate vacuum former gives your vacuum cleaner something else to do

Model makers, DIY enthusiast, and those dabbling in 3D printing have a need to create plastic copies quickly. For this, most use the simple process of vacuum forming, or the heating and stretching of a thermoforming sheet over a previously created mould. What isn’t simple at all or the current vacuum forming machines available, which can be large, complex, and expensive.

The Form-Mate is a vacuum forming machine on a diet, even if it’s 24 kg weight doesn’t seem so slim.  A bunch of features make it worth using, though., These include compatibility with household vacuum cleaners, customizable and savable settings, and ability to be folded. The Form-Mate is priced at $544, and is expected to be delivered by August 2015. Its $5,444 campaign goal is looking to be funded by July 22, 2015.

Compared to other vacuum forming machines, the Form-Mate offers improvement in many different areas; it can replicate a large variety of items due to its size. Even with this considered, this is a very niche product that will have trouble reaching its small target audience.

Maker/Development Technology

You can 3D-print your OwnFone, but forget about fancy apps

Many people like to express themselves with their clothes. But outside of supporting particular brands or buying a licensed cellphone cover, it’s pretty difficult for people to use cellphones to express themselves in a similar way.

The London-based developer of OwnFone is out to change that by allowing people to 3D-print the phone itself versus just a cover. The company allows consumers to either design the device using its maker’s FoneBuilder App website and let his company make it for them, or design OwnFones themselves at home using the company’s PrintFone Dev Kit.

Don’t expect a lot of fancy-functionality, though. OwnPhone is a voice-only mobile phone that works on a 2G mobile network; the product has already been available in the U.K. since 2012. U.S. consumers can now buy one for about $100, and can select from a version with word buttons, image buttons, a number keypad, Braille buttons, or a few other configurations. OwnFone will ship in the U.S. in July. Its maker is trying to raise £200,000 (~$308,000) by March 21.

There is likely a market for custom-made cellphones such as OwnFone. One large segment that will likely find it appealing is kids. But there are likely many parents who won’t be willing to shell out $100 on a mobile phone for their children. There are also likely many people who will opt to spend $100 on a low-end smartphone than a nice custom-made phone with limited functionality.


Connected Objects Toys

Arduino-based 3DRacer allows for 3D-printed racing

The rising popularity of electronics platforms like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, combined with the power of 3D printing, have added a new dimension to the racing toys of yesteryear.

The Arduino-based 3DRacer offers race junkies a bite-sized replica of the real thrill. Having designed their ride using the online 3DRacer tool, users can opt to print out the parts themselves, or have the company’s partner 3D Hubs print them instead. Once assembled, the pre-programmed Arduino board can be inserted to work in tandem with the companion smartphone app using a Bluetooth connection.

The included PVC mat makes any room in the home a racetrack, complete with app-controlled lap counter, pit stops, and a battle mode. Since everything is open source, more intrepid tinkerers have the option of creating an endless amount of cars, tuning the performance of each to suit their needs.

The product’s options seem unnecessarily complicated. The company would do well to simplify their offerings to appeal to a greater group of people. For youngsters, the product’s DIY nature may prove a little daunting, but it could end up being an effective stepping stone to light programming and robotics.

For $65, backers get their own customized car, and $129 throws in the track. The $25,000 campaign is slated to have the products out and shipped by September of this year.


MiniCut2D lets users take baby steps to 3D printing glory

While 3D printers are all the rage these days, they still remain somewhat of a mystery to the layman. Expensive machines coupled with complex programs ultimately build an extremely intimidating process most people would be scared off by.

MiniCut2D is aimed at those who are interested in what 3D printing can do, but lack the advanced skills necessary to transform what they have in their mind into a physical object. The product utilizes a hot wire that cuts hard polystyrene foam usually used as insulation material. The process is accessible to most because it only requires either a manually drawn image or a silhouette off of the Internet to help guide the wire to cut the shape necessary. The thickness of the material gives the object its third dimension as a result, and allows even beginners to create things such as words, planes, packing, and scale models. This gives users more variety than with scanners like the Pouff 3D that can only scan objects as big as the scanner itself.

Its open source Windows software supports CAD and SketchUp file formats, so MiniCut2D can serve as motivation for beginners looking to move on to more advanced ideas. The €8,900 (~$10,043) campaign is looking to have the €499 (~$563) product out to backers by May of this year.


IRring is the one ring to rule them all, your devices that is

It would be great to just point a finger at the TV to turn it on or off. Especially if the TV remote can’t be tracked down.

IRring enables users to do just that. The wearable remote control ring can be used to control a TV, DVD player, Blu-ray player, cable box, lamp or almost any other appliance. The IR-enabled ring works with most models and infrared receivers, according to the New Mexico-based company E-Innovations’s Kickstarter campaign. The initial run of the ring will be made using a 3D printer. Backers who pledge $20 will get one ring when it ships in March. Regular pricing isn’t given at the Web site. The new company is hoping to raise $15,000 to finish the ring’s design, order minimum quantities of chips and other components, and start developing other wearable devices as part of a home automation line.

Even if the company’s universal compatibility claim proves true, IRring pales in comparison to several other rival smart rings, including the Nod. For one thing, its functionality is rather limited. It obviously lacks the functionality of most universal remotes. At this stage, IRing looks much cheaper than comparable products. This product will need to up its game in function and style in order to compete in the market.

Maker/Development Technology

Pi Top is a chunky open source laptop to teach you about coding

The increasing proliferation of technology in every part of our lives has led to a similar increase in demand for those who understand it all. With hardware, electronics, and code all at the heart of today’s most used technology, it’s an incredible challenge for those interested to even start. Outside of teaching yourself or attending costly college-level courses, there aren’t too many resources for those starting from scratch.

The mission behind Pi-Top is simple: focus on teaching people how to create and code great hardware. Initially, the open source laptop is shipped in pieces: a 13.3″ HD LCD monitor, various PCBs, keyboard, trackpad, Wi-Fi adapter, wiring, battery, and a Raspberry Pi to control it all. Instructions are included to lead users in the Pi-Top’s construction, and serve as an introductory lesson to everything the Pi-Top does. Afterwards, it functions as a laptop dedicated to teaching the skills necessary to transform a pure novice into someone who can design printed circuit boards, 3D print, and code anything they’d want using free online lessons direct from the company. In addition, the Raspberry Pi’s HAT specification allows small add-on boards to add functionality, a consideration Pi-Top was built with. This allows users to program robots or have access to a variety of sensors for home automation, and with more HATs being released, there are a wealth of options for the curious tinkerer. All in all, the Pi-Top is truly an accessible product priced at $285 and many agree: the company’s $80,000 has been funded.

The Pi-Top does a great job in streamlining the process of learning a topic that has incredible depth. The free online courses demonstrate immediate, physical results and will be great at drawing users in and keeping them there, a leg up on what the Novena does. Even if it may contain beefier internals (and a similarly beefy price), the makers behind the Novena do nothing to at least expand your knowledge. The Pi-Top is very user friendly, and will prove to be a hit with those who take the plunge.

Cooking Maker/Development

Candy 3D food printer is the sweetest printer ever

The Premise. Although the flexibility of 3D printing has birthed many novel ideas for the private and government sectors, it has ultimately proven to be cost-prohibitive for the consumer. This has slowed down the average person’s entry into this space, especially with regards to the many benefits promised by 3D-printed food.

The Product. Candy aims to be one of the first affordable 3D printers focused solely on food of the sweeter (and guiltier) kind. Candy uses dispensers filled with any semi-solid to create perfectly shaped cookies, flawless cake details, or a variety of other designs for both professional confectioners looking to save time and home bakers looking to impress. Its sleek fiberglass build capable of reading SD cards loaded with pre-made and custom designs fits into many kitchens.

The Pitch. London-based 3D Venture’s campaign video does a neat and tidy job of explaining how Candy works, showing off its confectionery talents in a variety of environments used by a variety of people. Simple and to the point, the accompanying material provides information about the device’s specs and and the risks involved with the campaign. The company is shooting for a goal of about $100,000 in order to begin mass production.

The Perks. With the majority of Candy printers shipping in April 2015 for $499 ($100 off the eventual retail model), those who can’t wait to satisfy their sweet tooth can score one a bit earlier in March 2015 for $799, along with two extruders. All perks give you the option of choosing any available color.

The Potential. Candy looks simple, clean, and effortless. While its printing quality is lower than that of higher-end 3D printers, it is making things that are ephemeral. The printer should find an early audience with chefs looking to add new and interesting designs to their cuisine. Candy costs half the price of another 3D food printer vying for your gastronomical attention. And at $499, Candy will be seen as a pretty sweet deal in a market still known for its exuberant prices.