Get A Pen To Draw In 3D

pen for 3dA pen that uses plastic for ink allows you to draw in three dimensions. The 3Doodler, invented by Peter Dilworth and Maxwell Bogue, gives people a freer hand in creating sculptures and brings computer-aided design software front and center.

You hold it just like a regular pen, but instead of building a shape layer by layer, as a 3-D printer does, this pen it extrudes the plastic into the air.

The plastic is soft when it is extruded, but it hardens quickly enough that it can form a stable structure. It’s the same kind of plastic (called ABS) that is used in 3-D printers. The pen is hooked up to the supply of plastic, which comes in the form of long, thin strings, so it has a kind of tether on it. It doesn’t need a computer or any software to work.

The demonstration video shows some of the thing it can do: lifting the pen from a surface, for instance, leaves a straight line of plastic standing up. “Scribbling” would make layers of plastic for a stronger support if it’s vertical.

While it seems remarkably easy to use, there might be some hurdles if you get one. Drawing would require a steady hand, and it would be slower than using a pen (the video on the Kickstarter site is sped up in places, so it doesn’t always show that controlling the “line” might be a painstaking process). You’d also have to be aware that what you draw has to stand up under its own weight.

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