3-D: Not Just for Printers Anymore
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3-D printing? That was the trend of 2014 and has major ramifications for industry own the road. Now that we’re into the second month of 2015, there is another idea of the future that has everyone buzzing: a 3-D printing pen. You read that right; the instrument you have been using for years to sign your paycheck, to jot down when the board meeting is and to take notes in class now has a new function. Drawing in mid-air and creating sketches in three dimensions is no longer just an idea in a science-fiction novel, as there is a pen that allows you to do just that.

Rapidly hitting its Kickstarter goal of $30,000 (at last count in 2013, the complete funds were well over $2 million), the 3Doodler got its start as the world’s first 3-D printing pen. Well, after two years on the market and filling a niche many didn’t know existed, the company who produces the 3Doodler, WobbleWorks, has created yet another 3-D printing pen, the 3Doodler 2.0 (The 2.0 version of the 3Doodler is a quarter of the size and half the weight of the original), bringing the future to the hands of many more.

“That’s great and all, but how on earth does this thing work?” You may be asking yourself. While at first glance, it may seem like the 3Doodler 2.0 would be as complicated and possibly as bulky as a 3-D printer, but that isn’t at all the case. From its website, the 3Doodler pen extrudes “heated plastic filament that cools almost instantly into a solid, stable structure.” So we know one thing, this pen requires heat and plastic to make your ideas come to life.

Think of a hot glue gun and how you have to insert strands of hardened glue into the gun for it to work. The concept is similar with this pen. The 3Doodler 2.0 operates not with glue, but with strands of plastic. The plastic is heated up allowing you to “draw,” and once the plastic has emerged from the pen, it immediately begins to cool down and harden, giving you your 3-D doodle.

While we may not have the vision yet to see how this pen will impact the industrial world, the pen demonstrates that ideas and innovation like the 3-D printer, which seem to be only toys for select individuals in specific settings, can be in the hands of everyone. Voila, the humble 3-D printing pen. 3-D printing is still a relatively novel and new concept (although advancing rapidly), but with a pen that has a similar function, people are able to bring their own creativity to light.

If purchasing a pen, strands of plastic, a battery pack and other essential accessories aren’t appealing to you, then perhaps it’s best to wait for a 3-D printing pen. But, if can’t resist the urge to unleash your creativity on to the world, the 3Doodler 2.0 is set to be available in May 2015, with an estimated price of $99. You can learn more about WobbleWorks and the 3Doodler 2.0 on their website. Who knows, maybe one day this pen can help produce industrial parts or maybe even “draw” a new, next-generation lathe into existence?


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