3Doodler, a 3D drawing pen

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Here’s something that’s making its way to the top of our, “why didn’t we think of that” list. It’s called 3Doodler, a device based on the plastic extrusion technology found in 3D printers stuffed into a pen that fits in the palm of your hand.

If you’re familiar with 3D printers, the design of the 3Doodler should come as second nature to you. Inside this electronic plastic-melting pen is a small motor that forces 3mm ABS or PLA filament through a heated nozzle. With the 3Doodler, you can draw in three dimensions by simply lifting the tip of the 3Doodler into the air.

While 3Doodler is obviously aimed at creating plastic objects by hand, we’re wondering if this device could be successfully adapted to work with 3D printers. The 3Doodler team put a very, very small and inexpensive extruder and hot end inside the 3Doodler, and they’ve got something on their hands we’d love to tear apart just to see how it ticks.

You can see the 3Doodler introduction video after the break.

67 thoughts on “3Doodler, a 3D drawing pen

  1. Patent pending? I’m curious on what, looks like their first prototype is mostly an extruder from a 3D printer.

    That said, it’s something that’s very interesting and I’ll probably back it.

    1. I don’t know what about this they’re going to patent. The Reprap community has been unbolting their extruders and using them free hand for years and can show blog posts about it.

  2. I’ve often thought having a tool like this on my 3d printer would be handy. Didn’t set enough infill and approaching a solid layer that you know is going to sag in or not properly lay down?

    Reach in with the pen and colour in some infill to help support the coming top layer.

    Part warping off the bed? Reach in with your pen and extrude a bit under the corner of the part, and then draw a skirt on the corner to hold it in place.

  3. I was about to back this until I heard ‘patent pending’. So they want us to take a chance on their product, while they spend money on a legal system that prevents other makers building something similar? No thanks.

      1. If it was venture capitalism, you’d have a stake in the company. Usually they give you a trinket for your money, with absolutely no strings attached…

  4. you should use the future tense in the whole article
    it is a kickstarter project
    I can’t buy right now
    You can’t buy it right now

  5. Not to mention that it has been done before by makible.
    They basicly took the (quickly cobbled together) prototype from makible and polished it up a bit so it would look nice on kickstarter…

      1. The patent is on their method for cooling the plastic as it exits the nozzle. A problem that thousands of 3d printer designers haven’t been able to completely tackle, and thus well worth a patent.

  6. It was 3 hours ago my buddy sent me the link to it, and now they have 100,000 more than they had before. If you hit refresh on the kickstarter page you can literally watch hundreds and thousands of dollars flowing. Thats fucking unbelievable to me

  7. nice toy, but where I see a use for this is in locations where you’re attempting to mate two unlike items. When you would rather not take forever designing in cad, getting a cnc or 3d printed prototype, checking, modifying, rechecking, then sending off for final build and verification. With an item like this you can freehand extrude a mold to perfectly represent what you need to fill the gap. Then use that going forward for cnc or 3d print jobs.

  8. they have a good extruder. Apart from that it looks cool
    But if you own a 3d printer you know how long it takes to make a proper print. Furthermore its not child safe either as it will burn you quite easily ;). I do see major potential as a lightweight extruder for a printer if it’s price is below 100 euro. As for patenting it I think that’s going to be verry hard to do indeed just type hot end in youtube…

  9. Hmm. It’s pretty cool, I want one, but I can only think of a few select applications that would make it a useful tool in the workshop. I would probably use it for repairing/modifying existing abs plastic.

  10. it’s huge!
    Cool though, the renderings made it look sleek and slim – the actual photo in someone’s hand it’s a huge fatty.

    Aside from actual usefulness (which I think is maybe questionable), it does look like a ton of fun.

  11. Thinking of uniqueness for patentability: the video says that it uses patent pending technology to heat and cool plastic moving through the body of the device. I’m not fully up on 3D printing — is cooling a part of the standard 3D printing process?

    1. Well when you require heating AND cooling in one device, a peltier is ultra fracking obvious, so let’s hope they’ve got something really innovative.

    1. AAaaaargh, solvent smoothing, how the hell did they get that one. I first saw it used on sawn edges circa 1993, and was probably well known prior to that.

      1. Oh, anyone get a few grand, I’m off to patent flame polishing, or any use of heat after printing to smooth the surface…

  12. I would build one of my own only for use in joining 3d printed parts. Interesting concept. Maybe it can be used in adding supports on the fly if the operator discovers that more support is needed.

  13. backed! I’m pretty sure someone will also make a mount for a scanning platform to get better control like the most of the 3d printers. since i have access to an optics lab, i could easily make one out of thorlabs parts.

  14. Peter O’Toole was using one of those at the beginning of the 1984 film Supergirl to make hand made free-standing sculptures, then supergirl used it to make a big flying insect and bring it to life with the city’s power source which…. ok who stopped reading by this point? :).

  15. Ugh, I hate Kickstarter; been burned by them one too many times. I mean really, their business model is: you give us money, and maybe we ship you a product, or if things don’t go as planned, we just keep your money.

    1. I’m just a random guy on the internet, but I’m a member of the same makerspace where this project is being developed. I’ve seen the prototype and I know one of the guys in charge of the whole thing. This is a sound investment.

      1. Heck it’s not even supposed to be an investment. You don’t buy a product on kickstarter, you give them a kicstart (money) and if their project is successfull they can choose to give you some rewards as thanks for supporting them. In no way do they have to send them out or even finish the project.

  16. Don’t back this. It’s a direct rip off of open source projects already available and this infringes upon Stratasys’ patent. Here’s one of the original products this is copying: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4156

    I noticed the trend on Kickstarter is to copy something that already exists (there was a DVR dongle that was a direct copy of the MK802, even using the same SoC) and rake in the dough. Don’t fall for it.

    1. Funny. You said it’s a direct ripoff of a project that makes use of a disused MK4 hotend. To me, the doodler looks more like a pen-shaped object whose function is similar. The Plastic Welding Gun requires a controller board, software, and a PSU. While, on the other hand, the Doodler is self contained except for the wallwart. The direction of filament travel (fwd/reverse) is controlled by pressing either one button or two buttons.

      You seem to miss the point of kickstarter and of basic economics. People who see something and say to themselves, “That’s nice, but I’ll bet I can make one that’s even cooler/faster/smoother/more powerful/etc.,” are the basis for most industry around the world.

      Cars were invented a long time ago. Why do cars look different now? Why don’t they all have diesel engines? Why are there electtric trains, when those with steam engines were so handy?

      When you gripe about the Doodler, you’re letting your Luddite colors fly wild. Innovation is not evil. The Doodler does something that other tools also do, but it does it in a more user-friendly, non-technical manner which places the Doodler within the grasp of anyone with a desire to play with 3D art and who lacks the technical knowledge or resources to buy or build/configure/run a 3D printer of their own. And that includes the Plastic Welding Gun, too, since it’s hardly a stand-alone gadget.

  17. Adding a tube that cools the plastic a bit after it forms into a certain form.

    They can’t patent the cooling method, I posted about that years ago. It was also posted as a way to add consistency to filament making techniques from recycled plastic

    Unless patents are only about theft, and control for uses of power.

    And there are some that have censored my posts for years and claim they can ‘farm’ the ideas of other people.

    The beer and travel money needs to be sent, that is the issue.

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