Personal Technology

Mind Turns Into Matter With 3D Printing Pen


Mind Turns Into Matter With 3D Printing Pen

Courtesy 3Doodler

For years, the star of the arts and crafts scene has been the hot-glue gun. What child hasn’t cheered after plugging the gun in and watching plastic ooze out the nozzle? By-the-book types could neatly fuse appropriate things together, while the more abstract individuals among us could create wonderful mounds of goop.

It would appear, though, that the venerable hot-glue gun has been bested by a new, more audacious smoking-hot tool. Meet the 3Doodler, a pen that lets people draw three-dimensional objects. (Let that sink in for a moment.) It is, in essence, a novel play on 3D printing technology.

Current consumer 3D printers have a movable nozzle that hangs over a platform. The machines receive an image file from a computer and set to work building physical replicas of the images. A spool of plastic is fed into the 3D printer and melted by the nozzle, which then builds up the object one thin layer at a time.

The 3Doodler does away with the whole precision printing idea. It’s a bulky pen that takes a thread of plastic in one end, melts it, and squirts a stream of plastic out the other end. Instead of drawing on paper, people more or less draw in thin air and have the objects in their head appear in real life. It’s magical stuff.

For the moment, the 3Doodler is a Kickstarter project, with the first production units promised to arrive around September. The company behind the product is WobbleWorks, and it has already raised $700,000. On the Kickstarter page, you can see creations that range from Eiffel Tower replicas to animals and jewelry.

Children everywhere should rejoice at this addition to the arts and crafts arsenal.

Vance_190
Vance is a technology writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in Palo Alto, Calif. Follow him on Twitter @valleyhack.

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