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q3d is a 3D printer and a table lamp. It was created through the collaboration between Politronica srl[1], an Italian small enterprise, and Flying Tiger Copenhagen. Its design is inspired by the LUXO L-1 lamp[2], created for the first time by the Norwegian designer Jac Jacobsen in 1937.

q3d is realized according to the following pillars:

  • the production of an object destinated to the market retail, completely realized through 3D fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology, and therefore with a design impossible to realize with other technologies (e.g. plastic injection molding).
  • a just-in-time production model with order, production and delivery made in 7 days.
  • a production model that is closed to the concept expressed in the Zero Marginal Cost Society, edited by Jeremy Rifkin
  • q3d is under a Creative Commons Lincense
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Release status: working

Photopolymer deposition full plastic 3D printer.
CAD Models
External Link


It is from the research of George Carwardine and his Anglepoise lamp, released in 1934, that Jacobsen was inspired to design what would become the best-known architect lamp in the history of design and the mascot of the Pixar Animation Studios. The self-balancing system seems simple: in reality it is very complex: the balance of the arm is maintained in any position by some springs that operate according to the principle of the compensatory forces of the muscles of the human arm. The lamp is freely positioned so as to allow the light source to be oriented at will. In 1937, Jacob Jacobsen presented his variant of Anglepoise by Carwardine. A table lamp called, like a modern muse, “Luxo L-1”. Finally the shapes of the various components of the printer are inspired by Alexander Calder, Mechanically, q3d is a composition between the Dobot printer[3], the Polar3D printer [4] and the Luxo L-1 lamp.

Operation's principle

Politronica was inspired by the Dobot for the construction of the two-joint arm, but without rotation of the base. The arm motors do not directly control the segments in the joints but do so by tensioning wires that serve to pull downwards. The antagonist movement is guaranteed by rubber bands that replace the springs of the Luxo. Of Polar3D there is only the rotation of the plate but without the translation that is made with the arm. The q3d is fully composed of plastic parts, polylactic acid (PLA) made from corn crops. The result is a printer with an arm with two rotational movements that guarantee one of the two movements on the printing plate and one off the plane, movements that are the result of a conversion from Cartesian coordinates to polar coordinates and, finally, a printing plate circular rotating on the axis passing through its center, which guarantees the second movement on the plane. The electronics are based on low-profile circuitry, very cheap but highly reliable, made by Arduino. The firmware is based on open source libraries, “intersecting” the Marlin “SCARA”[5] with the “POLAR360”[4].

Printable material

The real innovation is the material that is deposited by the printer and its deposition technique. Like a FDM 3D printer there is a stepper motor that pushes the material towards the nozzle, but there is no hot melt. The printer extrudes a polymer resin that hardens with visible light. That’s why when the machine does not print it can be turned into a table lamp. The properties of photo-cross linkable resins have improved significantly in the last ten years: different types of materials have appeared on the market with properties optimized for specific indications and different types of 3D printing. The polymerization of these photo-activatable materials does not depend only on their chemical composition, but also on the irradiation of the photo-curing devices. The most widely used monomers are multifunctional acrylates because they polymerize very quickly and can give rise to different materials by introducing chemical modifications in the precursor structure. Typically, a photo-cross-linking formulation consists of two main components: a photo initiator that absorbs incident light and gives rise to two radical fragments and a monomer containing at least two unsaturations, which may originate the polymeric network. Also in the last ten years, many researchers have used their efforts in the development of efficient photo initiators able to generate radicals under the action of UV radiation. These photo-initiators absorb the incident radiation which leads them to an excited electronic state from which the reactive species is produced. Therefore, a high and suitable absorption coefficient by the photo initiator is fundamental, as well as a suitable absorption spectral range. The resins used for the most common 3D pens have been formulated with a composition free of toxic substances and, consequently, not dangerous for use by children under adult supervision.

The naturally occurring oxygen in the air impedes the chemical reaction that allows the molecules to bind to each other forming a chain of polymers. This is why the most superficial part of the resins is often thick and sticky. Our resin has been formulated so as not to be sticky on the surface and to be cross-linked by irradiation of cold white light LEDs. The power chosen for irradiation is 3W which corresponds to the most used power in LED light bulbs for desk lamps. Our resin is practically odorless and comes in 3 colors: yellow, blue and red. The q3d can print 110x110x120 mm sized objects, created using virtual reality modeling techniques. The printing area is a cylinder with a diameter of 160 mm and height of 120. It can also work in symbiosis with a special accessory that mimics the outline of an object that you want to print, which can be visualized with augmented reality techniques, whose movements are transmitted and translated into the q3d that will physically make the object.


  Single q3d KIT
Plastic Parts 26
Non Printed Parts (approx.) 337
Cost (USD) $99-250
Controller Electronics Almost all RepRap
Printing Size (mm) 120 x 120 x 80
Motors 4 x NEMA 17 Stepper
Frame Material PLA
Frame Manufacture 3D FDM printer
Pro Easy assembly
Con none

Main improvements

The following is a list of the main innovations

  • Enhanced frame rigidity (prevents x-axis backlash)
  • Easy assembly
  • Parametric files for multiple sizes/bearings or bushings


The development of the q3d is hosted on ...


Stepper Motors

The q3d uses, including the extruder, 4 NEMA17 stepper motors. Two of these motors control the X and Z positions, one of them controls the rotating plate and the last control the extrusion of printing material.The stepper motors needs a minimum holding torque of 40Ncm (0.4Nm).

Controller Electronics

The q3d works perfectly using a MKS mini 2.0 or Arduino Mega/RAMPS 1.4 equipped with 4 drivers DRVxyz.


The extrusion system is composed by...


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External links


Open source files

  • abc


  • q3d [1]
  • It's a Kit [2]
  • It's a 3D Printer [3]
  • A Table Lamp [4]
  • Beta testing [5]
  • Vision, Mission, Strategy [6]