February 20, 2013
The Future Of Drawing: Pen Prints Objects In 3D As You Write
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
3D printing is on the rise, and the options that this emerging technology allows us to have are endless. Now, a new project by WobbleWorks is trying to get off the Kickstarter ground with a new 3D printing pen.
The 3Doodler is a pen that allows you to essentially draw up from a surface and into the air, as if using a pen wasn't limited by the 2 dimensions that paper has to offer.
WobbleWorks said on its Kickstarter page that their pen uses ABS plastic, the same material used by 3D printers. This type of plastic is used in most plastic around you. They are also offering PLA plastic, which is "bioplastic," made from corn.
"It´s compact and easy to use, and requires no software or computers. You just plug it into a power socket and can start drawing anything within minutes," the company said.
As you begin to draw or scribble in the air with the pen, it extrudes heated plastic, which cools and solidifies into a strong stable structure, allowing you to build an infinite variety of shapes. The 3Doodler has two speeds, fast and slow, to help determine the flow of plastic, allowing you to doodle large items quickly or detailed items slowly. Also, the 3Doodler has a main button allowing you to stop and start the flow of the plastic, that way you do not cause a mess.
WobbleWorks said that its 3D printing pen takes about 1 to 2 minutes to warm up, and an indicator light will blink allowing you to see when the pen is ready to be used.
For just $75, you can pledge to have your own 3Doodler pen, as well as two bags of mixed color plastic. Add another $24 to that, and you can get yourself 10 bags of plastic to go along with your 3D pen.
WobbleWorks is also offering "stencils" to go along with your 3D printer, that way you can print out your own, more complicated structures, such as the Eiffel Tower. They said that as time goes on, they will be providing hundreds, or thousands of stencil kits that can be easily emailed or shared with others.
They have already given the 3D printers to some artists on Etsy, who have created things like dragons, bird cages, figurines, and even a moose head,
"We have a ton of ideas for add-ons and accessories that will make 3Doodler even cooler, more useful, fun, and generally awesomer," WobbleWorks wrote on their Kickstarter page. "We hope that the 3Doodler will be a big success so that we can share all our ideas and offer you even more 3Doodling fun."
A 2 pound spool of ABS contains about 360 to 370 feet of plastic, which is about 3,960 to 4,070 feet of 3Doodling, according to WobbleWorks.
Ultimately, the company said they want quality control to be a major focus of theirs. This will ensure that their products are reliable, and consistent.
3D printing is definitely becoming a wave of the future. It is products like 3Doodler and the MakerBot that may eventually make brick-and-mortar toy stores a thing of the past. With the rise of 3D printing, eventually toys may not come in their typical packaging, but could be sold virtually, in the form of code.
One day, a toy store, like Toys-R-Us, may instead offer coding to print off your own toy, assuming you have the proper color and materials. If this is to ever become the present, and not the future, then the next thing for toy stores to worry about would be toy pirates, who dish out the codes through torrent files.