Watch a 3D printer build a cube from a vat of goo … using a phone screen

What if we told you that you could be holding in your hand a key piece to your next 3D printer? If Taiwan-based 3D-printing startup T3D has anything to do with it, your smartphone will have you creating 3D objects in no time. While the printing surface contains a mechanically operated plate that is dipped into a special resin, it’s your smartphone that tells it how to operate.

From within the printer’s app, you select the shape you’d like to print. From there, the light from the screen moves through a series light patterns necessary to create the object in a special light sensitive resin. While it works a bit slow — as you can see, the cube structure in the video demo above takes over seven hours to print on an early prototype — it’s like nothing we’ve seen before.

And at an estimated street price of $299, it’s not too expensive, although there’s no word on when the printer will actually ship. The software is pretty rough at the moment and mainly to just show proof-of-concept, and everything else is a bit rough around the edges. But give it time — as the early demos of this setup do look promising.

“T3D will definitely be a game-changer to the 3D printing industry.” T3D founder Dr. Sung said. “Whether it is speed or precision, T3D packs a lot of punch considering its small form factor.”

Approximately 5,800 different 3D objects are expected to be ready to print at the device’s launch, and at a weight of only 22 ounces, it will be portable enough to be taken just about anywhere. That’s the aim of T3D, while also making it incredibly easy for anyone to print 3D objects seemingly out of thin air.