WobbleWorks 3Doodler – the $99 3D-printing pen
The days when every home has a 3D printer might be some way off yet, but not if WobbleWorks has anything to do with it – the company has created a $99 3D-printing pen, the 3Doodler.
The 3Doodler became a reality after a sucessful KickStarter campaign last year, which racked up more than two million dollars in pledges, and now it’s gone into full production in readiness for shipping in March 2014.
Unlike other 3D printers that map out pre-created designs, the 3Doodler is designed to let you sketch freeform 3D prints. Held like a pen, the ABS or PLA plastic strands go in the top of the device, and are pushed through a nozzle at the other end. A fan in the side of the 3Doodler blows air down and around the nib, serving both to keep the device cool and allow the extruded plastic to set into place more quickly. Two buttons along the lower edge, meanwhile, adjust how quickly the plastic passes through.
It isn’t, of course, as precise as a traditional 3D printer, but it’s possible to create quite complex designs by building up strands and layers of different coloured plastics. As the constructions become more complex, it’s necessary to build seperate sections and then join them together – the only major limitation is how much time you actually have on your hands.
For example, while basic little doodles such as the boat above can be knocked together in as little as 15 minutes or so, a 5ft tall replica of the Eiffel Tower takes a little longer. One of the guys behind the 3Doodler built the model below – it took around 100 hours.
As you can see from the video at the top of the page, we challenged the 3Doodler guys to build an Eiffel Tower in less than 60 seconds. The results may explain why the slightly bigger tower took around 6,000 times longer.
The 3Doodler can be pre-ordered for $99 at www.the3doodler.com; orders are estimated to start shipping in March 2014. Each 3Doodler comes with 50 strands of ABS or PLA plastic, and a range of extra nozzles and accessories are slated for release in the coming year.