Although 3D printing brings unprecedented creative opportunities, it also generally requires a ton of time and software expertise. The 3Doodler, an instant 3D printing pen, sidesteps these problems by letting artistic users draw whatever they want in real space and real time.
The $99 3Doodler has been out for a while, but I went hands-on with it at IFA 2014. Even though I'm not exactly what one would call "artistically inclined," I had no trouble using it to make fairly sturdy three-dimensional objects.
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For those who haven't seen it, the 3Doodler looks something like a hot glue gun mixed with a novelty color-changing pen. Users insert resin sticks into the back, then select whether the device should eject the resin quickly or slowly. After the resin is heated, users can shape it however they like on either a horizontal or vertical plane, and give it just a few seconds to dry.
3Doodler did announce a few new accessories, like a stand for the device and a set of six different nozzles. There are also a variety of colored resins available, which run about $10 for a pack of 25 strands.
Although I saw some impressive 3Doodler artwork, life a miniature Eiffel Tower, the 3Doodler seemed more like a curiosity than the next evolution in 3D printing. However, the device's name supports that line of thought: doodling is not great artwork, but it is a fun and simple creative outlet that can lead to bigger and better things. In that light, $100 seems like a fair investment.
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