Plastic fantastic Drawing in 3D is pretty hard, but not impossible
Billed as ‘the world’s first 3D printing pen’, the 3Doodler is intriguing. With the appearance of a glue gun and, well, the feel of a glue gun, you may at first be convinced into thinking this is some kind of glue gun. But it isn’t!
The premise of the 3Doodler is ace. Push in a stick of coloured plastic (the two types are ABS and PLA – for their different properties, see http://bit.ly/1AguGhz) switch the device to the correct heat setting and push one of the two buttons, which spit out the plastic at two different speeds. Then start drawing in 3D. Note that you have to keep it plugged into the mains during use. The demos on the company’s site are impressive and we were eager to get drawing.
But it takes a load of practice. We struggled to control lines and making solid objects even on your fifth, 10th or 20th attempt is difficult. Where it is fun is if you draw a template on paper first, then doodle over that, peeling the dried plastic off and assembling manually. You can make some really cool objects and sculptures with the 3Doodler, but it’ll take a lot of patience, a lot of time and probably a lot of plastic.
Making complex objects will take time, patience and plastic, but it is doable and rewarding.
The 3Doodler raised more than two million dollars on Kickstarter (of a $30,000 goal).