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This $100 printer isn’t much bigger than the ink cartridge on your clunky old one

What if a printer could fit in a pocket and print on almost any surface? That’s the question that has more than 12,000 backers pledging over $1 million to push the PrinCube from prototype to production. Less than 3 inches on the longest side, the PrinCube is a one-line color mobile printer. Startup TheGod Things says the palm-sized printer is the smallest mobile color printer yet.

PrinCube is a handheld printer — rather than feeding a sheet of paper into a printer, the user moves the PrinCube across the paper one line at a time. Because the printer sits on the surface instead of using a paper tray, the PrinCube can print on more surfaces than just paper, including cardboard, leather, metal, plastic, fabric, wood, textured surfaces, and even skin for a custom temporary tattoo.

The PrinCube prints out one line — up to .56 inches — at a time. A multiline feature allows users to create 9.8 feet of content, separated into individual lines by the movement of the printer. An ink cartridge lasts long enough to print on more than 415 A4-sized pages.

The color inkjet printer connects with a PrinCube app using Wi-Fi to create designs and send them to the printer on the go. Sliding the printer across the surface prints the pattern. 

While not the first printer to take a tiny form factor by sitting on the paper itself and printing one line at a time, the PinCube is the first color printer of its kind and is also the lightest color printer yet, the startup says. The printer measures 2.8 by 2 by 2.7 inches and weighs about 5.6 ounces.

The PrinCube uses a single cartridge and is launching with a standard ink that washes off with soap and water and a semipermanent solvent-based ink that washes off with alcohol and similar solvent cleaners. The printer charges through a USB Type-C port, with a battery life rated for six hours of continuous printing.

TheGod Things, based in both New York and Shenzhen, China, has already raised more than $1.8 million on Indiegogo for production. If production is successful — watch out for the pitfalls — early backers can get the PrinCube for pledges starting at about $100. Ink cartridges are $29 for the standard and $39 for the semipermanent. The startup plans to start shipping the PrinCube before Christmas.

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