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3D Simo Unveils Smaller, Cheaper, More Versatile 3D Pen

Want to hold a 3D printer in your hand?

3DSimo's second-generation 3D printing pen, the Simo Mini, is a much smaller, and less expensive version of its original device. Launching via a Kickstarter campaign, the new pen will be able to connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and use a much greater variety of materials, including wood. Early backers can get it for $89--if they're willing to wait until January 2016 to receive a device.

Instead of an LCD display on the side, as with the original, the Mini merely has a few LED lights, but communicates its status via Bluetooth to an Android or iOS app. Also unlike the original, there's no built-in cooling system, which might make the end of the 3DSimo Mini pretty warm after extended use.

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David Paskevic, the CEO of 3DSimo, gave us a brief demonstration of the new pen by drawing the outline of Big Ben--or what passed for it. While he brought several finished products with him--including a wallet and a car--it became quickly clear that making anything substantial requires a serious amount of time and patience.

The Mini can reach a temperature of about 500 degrees Celsius, or roughly 930 degrees Fahrenheit. It will also come with four interchangeable tips: One for 3D printing, one for soldering, one for etching into wood or leather, and a wire cutting blade for slicing through foam and paper. it will also be compatible with about 12 different materials, including Laybrick, ABS, PLA, PETG, HIPS, FLEXI, Laywood, Thermochrome, and Fluorescent.

The company's Kickstarter campaign is launching today; early backers can get the Mini (plus the four tips) for a pledge of $89, but the device itself won't ship until January 2016. If you've got a steady hand and a knack for building things out of melted plastic, it may be worth the wait.