On February 21, 2013 at 7:10 AM PST the 3Doodler 3D printing pen project on Kickstarter.com had 12,743 backers who had pledged $1,129.404, drastically exceeding the original goal of raising $30,000, and there were 31 days to go on the fund-raising program. By the time I finished writing this database entry the totals had already increased to 12,801 backers who pledged $1,134,565. Photographs and videos on the websites described the remarkable features of the invention.
"A hand draws a square on a piece of paper–the standard first step for drawing a representation of a cube. But then, instead of drawing a second square on the paper, and connecting the edges with ink, the hand rises up. A plastic material emits from the pen, as the hand “draws,” or sculpts, really, the vertical edges of the cube. Then the hand caps off the cube with edges at the top. The whole structure stays sturdy.
"Drawing has entered the third dimension.
"3-D printing has always been about empowering smaller artisans, about taking what is traditionally the realm of major manufacturers, and bringing some of that power closer to the creators. The journey of 3-D printing, in many ways, has been bringing technology that’s traditionally been too expensive for individuals or even small businesses, and making that (or similar) technology available to the little guys. To wit: one company made a portable 3-D printer that, as of my writing about it in November, only cost a few hundred dollars (see: “3-D Printing on a Budget”).
"The 3Doodler is far cheaper and easier to use, and though less capable in some ways, it has the curious effect of leapfrogging the technology that it’s descended from. 3-D printers are gaining in cultural mindshare, yet I still have to explain to some people what is meant by such a device (“printing” simply evokes an ironclad image of ink and paper, for many). Most people have never seen one; I’m a professional tech journalist, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in person. Yet I’m a click away from dropping $75 on my very own 3Doodler pen. It’s cheap, it’s novel, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see technology like this to have a crossover appeal with DIYers and upscale toy store owners alike.
"As a result, many people may be introduced to a “3-D printing pen” before they even know what a 3-D printer is to begin with. Though the analogy is accurate–the 3Doodler heats and cools plastic in a controlled way, much like a 3-D printer–I wonder if the company might have more success by breaking with precedent and simply describing the thing as a “sculpture pen,” or something of the sort. I might even call it “the skywriter.”
"Here is the ultimate democratization of 3-D printing. “If you can scribble, trace or wave a finger in the air you can use a 3Doodler,” explain Wobble Works on their Kickstarter page The clever people of Wobble Works have brought 3-D creation to masses of people who might otherwise not have had access to it. Kudos to them, and I look forward to seeing what kinds of creativity their invention unleashes" (http://www.technologyreview.com/view/511471/a-3-d-printing-pen-wows-kickstarter/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20130220, accessed 02-21-2013)
The 3Doodler was a project of Boston-based WoobleWorks LLC, an emerging toy and robotics company led by Peter Dilworth and Maxwell Bogue.