There are plenty of different 3D printers to choose from these days, from the popular Makerbot Thing-O-Matic to the budget-priced Solidoodle. These all have one drawback however in that they aren't exactly portable. Most need to be disassembled to be moved and even the fully-assembled Cubify printer isn't really built for travel. But now, two MIT students have developed the PopFab, a machine that does 3D printing and more, all while fitting inside a small suitcase.
The PopFab was developed by students Ilan Moyer and Nadya Peek, from the MIT CADLab and MIT Center for Bits and Atoms respectively. Billed as a "portable fabrication multi-tool," the machine was revealed through an online video showing the whole device folding out from a metal briefcase and almost immediately printing a small object after a bit of setup. All it takes is to attach the printing head to the fold-out arm, feed in some printing material, and connect a computer to transmit a design.
The video posted by the duo promises to be the first of several episodes showing the PopFab's capabilities. With different heads, the machine could also be used for milling, vinyl cutting, drawing, and much more, to create a wide variety of objects. The creators have also tested its portability by traveling with it as a carry-on suitcase to Saudi Arabia, Germany, and within the U.S.
Check out the video below to see how the PopFab opens up from a briefcase to a fully functional 3D printer and builds a tiny yellow fish.
Source: Ilan Moyer