3D Printing Pen Lets You Draw In The Air

Kevin Veloso - 4C Software
Posted on: March 13, 2013

Ever doodled something and wanted to be able to lift your pen off the paper and draw in the air? 3Doodler is a 3D printing pen that lets you draw in the air without the use of any regular surface. The 3D printing pen works by rapidly heating up the plastic “ink”, which quickly cools down as the plastic is released from the pen. The pen supports the use of both ABS and PLA plastic, the same kind of plastic that can be found in most 3D printers. Simply turn it on, load the 3D pen with the plastic, wait about one to two minutes for the red light to turn blue, and you’re ready to print! 3Doodler has two different speeds for releasing plastic: fast mode for larger or wider prints, or slow mode for more delicate or precision prints. The pen supports printing in mid-air, as well as printing on print-out stencils for more intricate print designs.

At the moment, the 3Doodler has raised an incredible amount of money. Originally, the company had $30,000 as their pledge goal, but with recently popularity on the Internet, 3Doodler was able to raise over $2.1 million in two weeks on Kickstarter, a funding platform for projects. As of this publication date, there is less than two weeks left to back this project, with very few pledge options available. Most popular pledge options are sold out, including options that offer the pen with bags of various coloured plastic. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until at least June of this year to see the über early adopters play around with this pen. For now, the folks responsible for the pen are collaborating with some sellers on Etsy (a shopping site for handmade and craft items) to showcase various creations made by 3Doodler.

There are several interesting things to note about this 3D printing pen. Although it’s not like a conventional “printer” that takes in data from a cable, it is still considered a printer in the sense that it still produces objects such as a 3D image. Some people such as the folks at SingularityHUB consider this more of a 3D “craft pen”, rather than a handheld 3D “printing” pen.

This pen also reminds me of a glue gun, but the pen design and the heating and cooling process makes this neat little invention more versatile (although I don’t think it would work as a good adhesive like a glue gun).

It’s interesting to note that the 3Doodler doesn’t run on an ink cartridge model, thus the plastic tubes are not provided by the manufacturer. The Kickstarter page lists several places to purchase plastic spools used by the 3D printing pen, including both ABS and PLA plastics for those with a preference for either material.

I would definitely like to get my hands on one of these 3D printing pens to play around! It looks like a very fun tool for hobbyist and artists.

3Doodler is a project invented by WobbleWorks, a toy and robotics company whose founders met while working in Hong Kong. To learn more about the development of the 3Doodler project, as well as finding more about how to contribute to this project, you can go to their Kickstarter page here: kickstarter.com/projects/1351910088/3doodler-the-worlds-first-3d-printing-pen