Feeds

The cheap 3D craft pen that scribbles over 3D printing hype

$75 tool turns doodles into actual things

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

How many printers do you have in your house? And how many pens? I would bet the ratio is at least a dozen pens to every printer, if not more. So is there any reason the ratio of 3D-pens-to-printers is going to be significantly different?

A US startup has come up with a 3D-model-making pen that allows you to "draw" plastic shapes in the air, and will retail for just $75. A Kickstarter appeal to fund the manufacturing of the pen starts today.

The 3Doodler is pitched as a creative tool, rather than an existential threat to industrial society, the latter being how the 3D printing hype has been sold. Or rather, oversold. But once you've seen the 3Doodler in action, it isn't hard to imagine it becoming as ubiquitous as Lego in family households in the near future.

The 3Doodler takes the head of a 3D printer and attaches a DC motor and a cooling system. The plastic is cold to the touch when it comes out of the pen, although the nozzle is still too hot (at 270°C) to be a child's toy, restricting it to a 12+ age rating at the moment.

At 180mm by 24mm, it's perfectly portable, but future iterations are expected to be much smaller.

A selection of models produced by the pen

Not quite biro sized, but a lot smaller and cheaper than a desktop 3D printer

And here it is in action:

The 3Doodler's founders have experience in toy design and consumer electronics, particularly low-cost manufacturing. Peter Dilworth was inventor of the WowWee toy, and Maxwell Bogue launched products including the Rovio bot and RS Media robot. Clearly both skill sets have been employed here. Decent 3D printers cost between £1,000 and £2,000 to run, and require the user to master complex professional software. The 3Doodler uses ABA, or a corn-based bioplastic PLA, priced at about $30 per kg.

The team envisage a range of accessories for the pen, including a pantagraph that allows tracing of objects, and an XYZ positioning accessory that plugs into a computer. The Kickstarter page is here.

3D printing has received plenty of mainstream press coverage, much of it utopian with highly improbable and fantastic claims made on its behalf. (Yes, we're looking at you WiReD and The Economist - and here's where you can replace your marbles.)

Perhaps the real legacy will be more subtle - an everyday craft tool? ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.