3D Printing is still a very new concept. What regular 3D printing does is print out a 3D model designed on a computer using plastics such as ABS. Consumer models are only just becoming available with pricing high. For artists though, a low budget solution is coming via the way of the 3Doodler. The worlds first 3D printing pen.
What does it do?
The 3Doodler is much like a bulky pen, but when you start to draw plastics inserted into the top will melt and be spread on the page. The fast drying plastic hardens into something you can literally lift off of the page – or even draw and then harden in mid air. What this does is open up the possibility for creating objects from basic shapes, to more advanced models such as a replica of the Eiffel Tower or even custom cases for your iPhone. The creators, WobbleWorks, say that the 3Doodler could also be used for small repair works.
One of the exciting aspects of the 3Doodler is the support that WobbleWorks will give once the pen is released. Their official website – the3Doodler.com – will host stencil kits. You can simply print out the stencil, draw over the top and then put the pieces together to make a model. The stencil kit idea will allow consumers to not only quickly make models uploaded to the web, but also allow an area for 3Doodler owners to easily share plans amongst each other.
The pen weighs less than 200 grams and is 180mm long and 24mm thick, though this may fluctuate somewhat depending on the final specifications when production begins. The pen will also have a universal power supply so can run at both 110v and 240v. The nib of the pen where the hot plastics come out is the cause for concern, with heat climbing to 270c whilst in use. Because of this, the pen is not recommended for anyone under 12. The plastics supplied are 3mm thick ABS or PLA, with ABS being a common strong plastic and PLA being a biodegradable option. The plastic provided with the pens will be 1ft long, which will equal out to 11ft of 3Doodling, so if you invested in a 1kg spool of plastic you would have around 4000 feet of doodling.
How can I buy one?
Currently the 3Doodler is in the production phase and is being funded on Kickstarter. Originally asking for $30,000, they have smashed that target with the current total at over $2 million, with over two weeks still left of the campaign. The rewards are to receive one of the pens along with a bags of plastics, with the cheapest being $50 (£33) that sold out extremely quickly. The rewards are also time based, with the earliest anyone will receive their pen being this September and the latest being February 2014. Retail, according to the inventors, will follow but to guarantee a pen then Kickstarter is the only way until next year. So far over 23,000 people have backed the pen with thousands more expected to in the next two weeks.
Peter Robinson is a blogger at www.document-options.co.uk one of Brighton’s leading printing companies. When Peter is not blogging or writing about scanning services, he enjoys print making, art and rugby, as well as updating the company facebook.