Brilliant new 3D printer folds up like a briefcase, prints dozens of different materials

focus portable 3d printer kickstarter 3 d
Whenever you read about the latest innovation in 3D printing technology, it’s usually about a printer that’s smaller, faster, higher resolution, or prints in some kind of exotic new material. It’s not often that something completely new and different pops up, but every once in a while, a new printer comes along that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Focus is one of those printers.

Created by Dutch design firm 3D By Flow, Focus is a multi-material 3D printer that’s designed to fold flat and be carried around like a briefcase. Sure, we’re not entirely sure why you’d need a portable 3D printer, but that doesn’t make the contraption any less impressive. We’ve seen small form factor machines before, but Focus is the first printer we know of that’s specifically designed for easy transport.

That’s not the only trick it’s got up its sleeve, either. Somehow, despite the fact that it’s completely collapsible, it’s also more capable than most fused-filament fabrication printers currently available. How? Focus is equipped with an interchangeable extruder system, which allows it to print in a massive range of different materials. In addition to standard thermoplastics like ABS and PLA, the machine can also print with wood, bio-rubber, nylon, bronze, ceramic, and even edible substances like chocolate or cream cheese.

Not impressed yet? Well it gets better. Even with all these collapsible and interchangeable parts, Focus doesn’t require any kind of calibration or complex setup. When you’re ready to print, you simply fold open the printer, attach the extruder of your choice, and feed the machine your print files. The extruders affix themselves to the machine magnetically, and the print platform is completely stationary, so Focus doesn’t require any sort of calibration — it’s ready to go with just a couple button presses.

And the best part? It’s on Kickstarter. 3D By Flow launched a crowdfunding campaign for Focus earlier this week, and if you back the project now while it’s still in the early stages, you can lock down a portable printer of your own for a pledge of about $2,253. If all goes as planned and the campaign meets its funding goal, the creators expect to start shipping as early as October.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The name of Samsung's folding phone may have been revealed a day early

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s ‘Refabricator’ lets astronauts recycle 3D-printed tools to make new ones

The International Space Station just received a fancy new gadget in the form of a Refabricator, a machine capable of 3D printing using recycled plastic materials. Here's how it works.

Avoid scratches and dents with the 20 best iPhone 8 Plus cases

So you've got a new iPhone? Congrats! But with a glass design, and looks to die for, you'd best keep it safe. Not sure about the best case choice? Check out our guide to the best iPhone 8 Plus cases for some great ideas.
Emerging Tech

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate the origins of our universe

NASA is launching an ambitious mission to map the entire sky to understand the origins of the universe. The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission will launch in 2023.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Emerging Tech

Probes exploring Earth’s hazardous radiation belts enter final phase of life

The Van Allen probes have been exploring the radiation belts around Earth for seven years. Now the probes are moving into the final phase of their exploration, coming closer to Earth to gather more data before burning up in the atmosphere.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

NASA is preparing to launch a cutting-edge space observatory to create the most detailed map ever produced of the sky. Doing so will involve surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies. Here's how it plans to do it.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.