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The mPrinter is a small thermal printer that prints dynamic snippets of information we call mPrints.
The mPrinter is a small thermal printer that prints dynamic snippets of information we call mPrints.
706 backers pledged $88,018 to help bring this project to life.

Rapid prototyping and other updates

On Thursday, we got the first rapid prototype of our case design.  We chose to use SLA due to cost, material characteristics, and resolution. We sent the models off to the rapid prototyping company before Thanksgiving, and got the printed model Thursday.

While you can choose various finishing options, we chose a basic satin media blast. The parts still have their “step lines” from the printing process.  Finishing the parts to see what the final model would look like involved a lot of sanding, priming, and painting.  The light ring was wet-sanded to 2000-grit, then sprayed with a gloss polyurethane. The other parts were sanded to 800-grit, then sprayed with black paint and matte lacquer.

We’re still playing with the light ring a little bit to improve light transmission. We have 4 LEDs in there now, with room for up to 9.

On the production version, the light ring will be a smoke colored polycarbonate to blend in better with the rest of the black case. Also, the case will be made of black ABS as opposed to painted. The colors and types of resins for SLA printing are limited.

It’s very exciting to see the 3D model in a physical form. We have some minor model revisions that need to be made, and we’ll be test-fitting the rest of the electrical and mechanical components this week. After the changes are made, we’ll order the parts that require updates again – then have the steel injection molds made for mass production.

You can view hi-res pictures at our blog at  We'll be posting more detailed updates on there.

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    1. Missing avatar

      Larry Kluger on December 12, 2012

      What is the best way to update my shipping address with you? I've moved... Thanks.

    2. Lennart Martens on December 6, 2012

      Beautiful. Just beautiful :-)

    3. Daniel Amos on December 5, 2012

      Is there any chance we can have our unit wired for the country we live in?

    4. Missing avatar

      on December 4, 2012

      WOW !

    5. Nicholas Natale on December 3, 2012

      Thanks for the update Andy- it looks great! It's going to be hard to wait until February ;)

    6. Tim Lomas on December 3, 2012

      Looking great Andy!

    7. Melissa Evans on December 3, 2012

      Excellent! Great job!

    8. Missing avatar

      Daniel Naef on December 3, 2012

      Beautiful. Can't wait, and still 3 months to go.

    9. Andy Muldowney Creator on December 3, 2012

      @jamie - Sorry for any confusion. I was referring to multiple finishing options directly from the 3D printing house. The production version will only come in one color right now - black plastic, with a smoke-colored polycarbonate light ring (similar to a Nalgene bottle, if you've seen those).

    10. Missing avatar

      Jamie Welch on December 3, 2012

      Looks great! From your post, it sounds like we'll have multiple finishing options. Is this accurate?

    11. Missing avatar

      Keagan on December 3, 2012

      Looks good to me.