Another overachieving startup

I pledged about $100 to a Kickstarter project called OLO3D. They are already up to 9000 pledges, so they are likely to end with more than GF, but not more cash. I am a bit sceptical, but at the price it is much less of a leap of faith to speculate.

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I am DEEPLY skeptical… but I might roll the dice anyway.

The resins are the real magic there and I’d be truly surprised if a tiny company invented something like that before an established player like FormLabs or… DuPont.


I would not have expected the light from a phone to be sufficient for resin printing. But, assuming that it is… just be aware that your screen size is a limit on how large of an object you can print.

The big hurdle with resin printing is that the thin layer you are turning solid sticks to the bottom layer. But the only thing holding up your resin print is the connection to the top layer. So… your top layer MUST be stronger than absolutely every other layer on the entire print, so that it wins in that tug of war. But it has to win EVERY tug of war, with no breaks between, so there is also built up stress to deal with.

You also have to break that adhesion on the bottom layer. Form 2 does this with a wiper arm. Carbon 3D does it with an oxygen permeable layer (which I haven’t seen anyone else figure out yet, but at $99… they do not have one of those. It is nice though, since it stops adhesion completely at bottom layer). Everything else physically peels the bottom layer by moving the resin container. That is NOT possible here, since your phone is right under the bottom of the printer.

So… either they tucked a wiper bar into that small black resin reservoir you put on your phone, or they peel the bottom by tilting the top. That peel will be the primary issue to watch for them getting done right.

After getting past the peel issues, the next hurdle is optical clarity of the incoming light. Whatever barrier keeps the resin from sitting directly on your screen needs to be 100% free of cloud, scratch, or smudge. Same with your phone screen (that last one wipes out about 99% of all people).

Okay, just found a time lapse with the side removed, which shows that they do indeed peel by lifting the top plate asymmetrically. Getting a print to come out nice on this will be VERY hard. If you stick to their pre-planned stuff, then it is pretty easy. But you will have to learn proper alignment and support settings for anything you make custom. And the support settings change based on what resin you are using (flexible needs seriously thick supports for example).

The main logistical hurdle after you get a print done… post-processing.

Your print is still dripping with resin goop. That stuff is very sticky. So, unless the idea of drizzling maple syrup all over the place with your phone dead center in the mess appeals to you… there may be some issues to deal with. At the very least, do not remove the top segment of Olo until after you pull your phone out from underneath and put it far away.

Normal post-processing is an agitation bath in Isopropyl alcohol for 10 minutes, then a soak for another 10 minutes in a second tank of IPA. After that, your print is still not 100% solid, so you set the print in sunlight or a UV chamber for some period of time until it hardens to your taste. You also have to remove all of the supports at some point, and for a typical print there are a TON of supports.

Then… further post processing is required if your print will be exposed to UV light during its future lifetime. Since it is UV reactive, it will continue to yellow and get brittle with added UV exposure. So you need to coat the print with something which will serve as a UV blocker if you want a good lifespan to the print.


I don’t think I could handle leaving my phone inaccessible for hours at a time…


print while you sleep?

Either print overnight, or keep an iPhone at the next upgrade.

Finally, a use for the forced upgrade Apple makes people get! Heh.
(tosses match on pile of gasoline-doused fans, quickly exits out fire door)

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Somewhere there must be an Olo3D forum where members are whining about the haters on the Glowforge forum.


So far no haters. Overachieving in the title for the post means they got a ton more than their goal. And my post is meant to bring some realistic expectations to what you will get from the printer. I do believe that they will create a real printer and it will work.

Small printed parts tend to be frequently useful. Most things I have made (except full blown toys) would fit on my phone screen, and I don’t even have a phablet. And the whole reason I know so many of the pitfalls for a resin printer is because I have one, and turn to it for anything of high detail, or finalized designs which I want a good shelf life out of.

There will be a learning curve. And many people will not be happy with that. But $100 is the cheapest I have seen any printer at so far (other than build/print it yourself rep/raps of course). Especially for a resin printer.


Jacob… Thanks for the educational material. I am relieved by your belief that it can work. My understanding of Kickstarter is that the pictures on their page must be of real objects, not just mockups and things made on a Formlabs. It will never be a major part of anyone’s ecosystem, but for the price of a good meal for two,(yes- I know I’m a cheapskate) worth a try.

For those skeptical about the cost, remember that this uses the inkjet business model - the printers are free, the ink (or resin) is where they get your money.


Great answer, as per usual. I always appreciate your expertise, @jacobturner.

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The magic is going to be in the resin. I’ve worked with a couple of DLP printers now and I know the quirks. I can just barely believe that a phone can trigger the catalyzed reaction but I’m skeptical that this is a great idea. Scratches in the optical layer, on the phone or otherwise will mess up your print and the resin will actively EAT plastics near it; one droplet in the wrong place is going to damage most phones. (Incidentally really keep that stuff off your skin; I had a reaction to some that I’m still dealing with weeks later.)

Jacobturner: I’m with you; the asymmetrical peel is not a great method for layering prints. Carbon 3D and Gizmo both use the oxygen inhibition method to improve the process but I like Gizmo 3Ds top down printing mode more. I also worry about the cost of resealing the bottom of the resin tank.

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Thanks for the dose of reality of the pros and cons of that type of printer. I’ll confess to being a backer, more on a whim than anything else. For $100, it seemed worth a shot, though I’m starting to wonder if I should pull out.

Do you think other brands of daylight resins have a chance of working in the Olo system?

I am not well versed in all things resin. I have yet to venture out of the FormLabs official resins, though I was tempted to try out quite a few of the others when I initially acquired the printer (then I ran out of free time to tinker with it at all).

Reading the Kickstarter comments, it seems that the Olo guys had a short legal dispute with PC or somesuch, who are the ones who ACTUALLY make the resin that Olo provides. Olo just puts it in smaller bottles and triples the price (all of this completely second hand from kickstarter comments with no effort by myself to verify the claims in any way shape or form!).

The big issue with the resin is that each resin will require a different exposure time, and possibly exposure level in order to solidify. You also need different types of support for each resin. So, if you have no control over any of those factors in the Olo interface other than choosing what type of official resin you are using… then you are limited to those resins which behave similar to official resins.

If you can control exposure levels and times, as well as adjust support generation rules (you can technically do that pre-Olo program though, so supports aren’t as vital), then you can use any resin you want, but will have some period of figuring out proper settings.

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They are using a special resin called daylight resin or liquid crystal daylight resin. It’s been out for a while and is highly sensitive to light. Most resellers of the stuff are in Europe, where a few startup resin printers use the stuff, so the resin isn’t an issue with printing.

I would think heat from a screen (and battery) left on for 4 hours would be an issue.

This site carries a printer that uses the daylight resin: Much bigger than the OLO


Yeah, the time off of phone is my issue too. Honestly, given the pricing for such things, I’m not sure why it’s that much more cost-efficient to use the cell phone as your screen rather than to build a version with a built in screen - which also could ensure that you have a clear, bright light for the building. Would take a bit more work and some software, and I suppose it would take you away from that $99 price point - but for the moment I’m a no on on the OLO.

Though I have to admit the metal casting options are /really/ interesting, as one of the things I wish GF was capable of (and I know is completely unrealistic!) would be cutting intricate metal shapes for jewelry…

Thanks for the additional insight. I have a feeling that a $100 price point doesn’t allow for much sophistication in the software. I’m still going to back it, but my expectations are much better based on reality now, so thanks for the thorough reply.

OLO got an update today saying that deliveries will be going out to backers tomorrow! Earlier updates said they had to change their name to ONO (Oh No!) Also their date slipped, as many of these crowdfunding projects go.


I’ll be curious to see how well it works when mine gets delivered. I also ordered that Wanhao Duplicator 7 DLP priinter and that is supposed to ship within 2 weeks. The D7 seems to do a nice job for a $400 printer.

I think that @henryhbk is still waiting for his Uniz Slash and that could be a really nice printer, though a tad more expensive than the Ono or D7.