Desktop 3D printing technology has allowed builders to take control of their projects with an astonishing degree of precision. For those who want a little more manual control and and a smaller price point, the 3Doodler by the folks at WobbleWorks is a great alternative. As the world’s first 3D-printing pen, the device takes the heated extrusion head of a normal 3D-printer and uses a single piece of ABS or PLA plastic threaded through the back. The standalone device allows the user to effectively draw in the air, making structures that stand as strong and rigid as anything constructed by the Makerbot, if slightly less finished in appearance.
Each 3Doodler is 180 x 244mm and weighs less than 7 grams. Like a cross between a hot glue gun and a Makerbot, the 3Doodler allows users to sketch in space. Projects can start by following 2 dimensional stencils available through the3doodler.com that can either be welded together, or built up from the ground. The trick to drawing in three dimensions is controlling the extrusion speed by using the two buttons on the front of the pen, slowing the rate to pull upwards and stretch the plastic filament. Like any new tool the 3Doodler takes practice to master.
WobbleWorks is has made the first generation model available through Kickstarter for a donation of $75. The current incarnation plugs in, but the company is working on developing a battery-powered unit. Each pen comes with one bag of ten 1ft strands of filament for about 11 continuous feet of application. The WobbleWorks team is also collaborating with Etsy artists who have made their 3Doodler work available through the site.