Last updated, October 2017
The 3D printing device is the world best 3Doodler gadget. According to the developer, the 3D printing pen is the worldís very first drawing gadget and so far no one can contradict these claims. The pen uses a mechanism of melting plastic that is then ejected through the nozzle. Although the plastic is heated and comes out molten, it is easily solidified by air. It is therefore perfect for designing objects in air as they gain stability when left for some moments.
What is a 3D Printing Pen?
This is a pen that closely resembles the handheld 3D printer. It actually uses the same heating element and extruder thatís common in desktop 3D printers except that unlike the latter, it does not use computer software or motors to control the pen but rather the free hand.
Origin of 3D Pens
The first prototype 3D pen was built in Artisansí Asylum in Somerville, Massachusetts by three nerdy inventors Maxwell Bogue, Peter Dilworth and Daniel Cowen, in early 2012. The first 3D print job was somewhat a disappointment as they realized after 14 hours of waiting that a crucial line was missing and the job couldnít be completed.
The original 3D pen was created to use plastic thread made of thermal polyurethane, poly-lactic acid (PLA), or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). This pen is then melted and then cooled while still moving within the pen (a patented feature) and can be used in creating steady 3D objects.
The way in which the plastic filament is discharged from the tip resembles how a glue gun works. The extruded material is 11 feet longer than the one foot plastic filament thatís fed into the pen.
The lead 3D innovator, Max Bogue, once demonstrated to Berlinís IFA trade show Technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, how the 3D pen works. So many people watching couldnít believe how the 3D pen performs incredibly. According to Mr. Bogue, the idea behind the 3D pen is related to the overall 3D printing.
How does a 3D pen work?
The mode of functioning of a 3D pen is rather simple. It will be easy for you to visualize how the 3D pen works if you have had experience with hot glue gun. The 3D printing pen heats up a plastic filament to a melting point before extruding it through a nozzle as a molten thread or filament.
The molten plastic thread is rapidly cooled on contact with air and is very malleable. It is quite easy to mold this plastic into any shape or fuse it into your surface of choice. After a few seconds, this molten plastic will harden and form into a stable solid structure. Whatever shape you will have made will be sturdy and attractive.
Exclusive Insight on 3D pen Inventors
Born and bred in London, England, Daniel Cowen is a former corporate lawyer and also a co-founder of two award-winning startup companies. As a Co-founder of 3Doodler, his main job is to oversee business development, marketing and operations. He also works at nurturing and passionate setting employees at 3Doodler.
An alumnus of MIT Media Lab and MIT Leg Laboratory whose works have tremendously contributed various innovations mostly touching on robotics, Dilworth is the current Wobble Works Chief Inventor and CTO. He is also among the prime inventors at Wow Wee. In 2010 he partnered with Max Bogue in and founded Wobble Works.
A co-founder of Wobble works, which is the real creator of 3Doodler, Max Bogue has been to film school, done computer science and also invented toys. Before working for Wow Wee as an R&D project manager for three years, Max had had previously worked for She Spies. While at Wow Wee, he launched a number of products that included ChatterBots, RS Media, and Rovio. In 2010 he co-founded Wobble Works.
As you can see, the history of 3D pens is enchanting. The idea and motivation of the inventors was to design a 3D printing device that wouldnít require any computers, software or technical know-how and would produce free hand drawn 3D objects. They were also aiming at a device that would produce excellent results in just a matter of minutes. In the end they produce a gadget that was not only fun, but also more affordable than computer 3D printers.
The 3D printing pens allow you to form objects on air. With them, it is possible to create a freestyle 3D sketch and to trace shapes from templates to create larger structures and objects. They are compact but easy to use.
After a few complaints about the original 3Doodler pen, Wobble Works Company organized a second kick starter fundraising campaign to introduce an improved version. They collected more than 1.5 million dollars from the campaign.
The 2.0 3Doodler pen was as a result introduced in January 2015. Its features are more updated than the previous version and it is more detailed. Some of the features introduced in this new version are:
- a more quiet fan
- an option for changing the size and shape of the tip
- The new design of the pen is also much slender.
Advantages of 3D pens
The 3D pen does magic with plastic. It gives you freedom to turn plastic into any shape and structure and you could even use it to decorate your everyday items. You can also use it to modify and repair 3D printed objects.
Although most people get nervous at the thought of drawing in air, using a 3D pen to create real-life objects is actually easy. It only requires a lot of patience and practice. Besides, the objects are really not practically on air, you support them on some surface.