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Forget 3D printing, it's about 3D doodling now

10 Oct 14

Who would’ve thought that by the 21st century you would be able to send a file to your printer from your computer and produce a 3D object out of plastic? Who would’ve thought you didn’t even need a printer to produce a 3D object? Enter, the 3Doodler.

Created by the Boston-based start-up Wobbleworks, the 3Doodler is a thick pen shaped device that enables you to construct 3D plastic creations by hand. You plug the pen into a power socket and put a stick of plastic into the blunt end. Melted down, it comes out as a thin line, so you can create an object with layers of lines.

You can create whatever your heart desires, from roses to skyscrapers to a galloping horse. The designs resemble a bundle of wire and are not necessarily durable or stable, and it’s been said that at times the plastic can come out infrequently. However, this is the first product of its kind, and 3D printers themselves have come a long way since they were first invented.

The two types of plastic used with the 3Doodler are polylactide or PLA and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS. The former is made from corn and is completely biodegradable and available in a range of colours, while the latter is more flexible and easily recyclable.

Interestingly, funding for the project came from Kickstarter, the crowd funding platform. Beginning in February 2013, developers Peter Dilworth and Maxwell Bogue had a goal of $30,000. By the time March 25 rolled around and the Kickstarter was complete, the project had 26,457 backers and $2,344,134 behind it.

The 3Doodler has a starting price of US$99 (NZ$130), and the plastic comes in at US$10 (NZ$13) for a pack of 25 sticks. You can find out more about the invention and order your own here.