3D printing Pens

In 2013, the world’s first 3D-printing pen 3Doodler was unveiled, that draws in three dimensions in real time. Imagine holding a pen and waving it through the air, only the line your pen creates stays frozen, suspended and permanent in 3D space. The 3Doodler was designed by Boston-based company WobbleWorks. By using a special, quick-hardening filament, it allowed users to draw free-form three-dimensional objects by hand, instead of drawing out designs on a computer and using a printer to bring them to life.

How does it work?

As 3Doodler draws, it extrudes heated plastic, which quickly cools and solidifies into a strong stable structure. This allows you to build an infinite variety of shapes and items with ease! Most people will instantly be able to trace objects on paper, and after only a few hours of practice, you will be able to make far more intricate objects.

Components & Accessories

The pen: The 3Doodler pen is 180mm by 24mm. The pen weighs less than 200 grams or 7 ounces (the weight of a typical apple), although the exact weight will depend on the final shell specifications once in production and a universal power supply of 110v or 240v.

The Ink (i.e. ABS/PLA plastic): The 3Doodler uses 3mm ABS or PLA plastic as its "ink" - just like a 3D printer.ABS is one of the most common plastics around. It's used in most of the plastic stuff around you. PLA is what we call a "bioplastic". It's made from corn, is biodegradable and has a lower melting temperature than ABS. 

Now, a U.K. startup by the name of Lix is building a more precise version of this concept with professional users (designers, artists, architects, and the like) in mind.London-based Lix is currently seeking fundraising for their pen on Kickstarter. It is by no means the first 3D-printing pen, but it is the first to actually resemble the shape and size of a regular pen.

  • The pen is 6.45in (16.3 cm) long, 0.55in (1.4 cm) in diameter and weighs 34.9 grams.
  • It is made of aluminum and comes in black or grey.
  • Inside the pen, it heats the plastic to 150°C (300°F), which is then pushed out through the nib as a hot liquid at the touch of a button.
  • The plastic used is a plant-based filament, although it can also use stronger forms of plastic.
  • When the liquid is exposed to air it solidifies into shapes.
  • You can’t move too quickly though, as the filament needs time to cool, but you can still make objects in a matter of seconds.
  • Each rod of plastic that you feed in is about 4in (10 cm) long and lasts for about two minutes of drawing in the air. After this, the pen needs to be refilled.
  • The pen has a whole range of uses, from writing text to fine art to T-shirt designs, and is apparently only limited by your ability to hold it steadily.