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A 3D Printer Designed for Travel, Foldie 3D Pt.1

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A 3D Printer Designed for Travel, Foldie 3D Pt.1
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As I started my journey in 3D printing I struck up a friendship with a 3D printer from Belgium, Yvan Van den Bossche. In 2015 he announced his Foldie 3D printer, and asked me to beta test his design.

I got the files when I was still using the turd box MakerBot 5th gen  that was not reliable enough to print the whole Foldie 3D printer, much less a single part.

Folded Foldie 3D
Foldie 3D folded for travel in its case

Yvan Van den Bossche sent me the files for his folding 3D printer, and later released a version on Thingiverse . This 3D printer is designed to travel in a laptop case with its power source and a small spool of filament.

For traveling 3D printers, a folding printer is more appealing than lugging around and reassembling a standard desktop 3D printer. A folding 3D printer may also appeal to the occasional 3D printer who does not want a larger desktop model eating up work space.


This year 3D-PT is planning on traveling to different conferences and I would like to bring at least a small 3D printer to these conferences to show the public how 3D printing works. That way the public can see how my products for people on the Autism Spectrum are 3D printed. While I love my Luzbot Taz 5  it does not like to move or travel.

Foldie 3D printer
Printed and assembled Foldie 3D


I recently started printing up all the parts.  After 51 hours of print time spread out over 2 weeks I finished 33 of the pieces.

I wanted some of the parts like the build platform and frame to be stiff as possible, so I used most of the 3Dom USA glassfill sample I was sent to review. It would be interesting in the future to print the Foldie 3D with a high strength filament like Carbon or nGen. The rest of this I printed with Colorfabb PLA/PHA .

Yvan Van den Bossche developed this folding 3D printer completely with open source components. He said,

“I want to get youngsters, with a lack of funds, access to 3D printing technology in the hopes that instead of 3D printed guns, they design something amazing, and share it.”

So far the only cost I have accrued has been in using some of my own filament to print some of the parts. At $0.08 a gram, I have to date use 200 g of PLA/PHA, for a cost of $16 USD. The motors and control board will be the most expensive parts. According to the Thingiverse page, the printer will cost around $340 USD total. I’ll keep track of the expenses and see if I can come in under that price.


I next raided my stash of US standard machine nuts and bolts to see if I could get enough to save me from shopping around.

Cap nuts
Cap nuts in Foldie 3D parts

While I was able to find some of the larger nuts and bolts, and even some cool cap nuts, I will still have to make a hardware store run. Unfortunately the printer requires at least 20 small M1.6 cap head bolts and nuts.


Among the things that Yvan Van den Bossche and I have talked about is posting the instructions for assembly of this printer.

Foldie in parts
The parts of Foldie 3D printed so far. White is glassfill, blue and lime green is PLA/PHA

Given that it will take more than 40 pieces plus the electronics, I think instructions would be invaluable. Right now Yvan Van den Bossche has an assembled Foldie 3D model on his Thingiverse page to go by. Yvan Van den Bossche plans on releasing the instructions online and to launch a crowdfunding campaign to sell hardware kits for the Foldie 3D in the future.


The Foldie 3D is a work in progress from Yvan Van den Bossche. I am working with him to print and assemble the Foldie 3D, and I will continue to post updates as I progress on this project.


If you want to print your own Foldie 3D or other 3D printer, check out our store for hot ends, filament, and other hardware needs.


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Written by 

3D-PT is a small 3D printing company started by a science teacher with autism. He has a background in CAD and science education, and believes that 3D printing can be used to help the world. 3D-PT develops products for people with autism and other disabilities. 3D-PT is also developing 3D printable products for education. 3D-PT is online at 3dpt.club Twitter: @3dfidgets

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